Worcester v Scarlets - LV= Cup match preview
Last Updated: 10/11/12 11:45am
Nikki Walker: Worcester winger will make his comeback from injury
Aviva Premiership strugglers Worcester will be hoping for some LV= Cup relief when they host Scarlets at Sixways on Saturday.
The Warriors have lost eight of their league games this season while Scarlets are second in the RaboDirect PRO 12 table with six wins from eight fixtures.
The Welsh side focuses plenty of attention on the competition - they won all of their pool matches to reach the semi-finals.
The Scarlets convincingly won their group last season ahead of English clubs Harlequins, Gloucester and Newcastle but were beaten by Northampton (27-12) away from home in the knockout stages.
Worcester winger Nikki Walker will make his comeback from injury while Jon Clarke also returns in the centres alongside Alex Grove. Jonny Arr and Joe Carlisle will again combine in the half-back roles.
Dean Schofield captains the team from the second row where he is paired with Chris Jones, while George Porter and James Currie are named in the front row.
New recruit Richard de Carpentier is named in the back row for his senior debut for the club after the announcement this week that he had signed a contract with Warriors. Jake Abbott also features with Blair Cowan at number eight.
A number of new faces join the Scarlets starting XV with 15 squad members away on international duty during the November Test series.
Scarlets hand a debut to new South African tighthead signing Jacobie Adriaanse. There is also a first start of the season for centre Adam Warren who partners Gareth Maule.
Young scrum-half Aled Davies gets his first start after making an impressive impact off the bench against Zebre last weekend. Lee Williams returns to the wing while Australian lock signing Jake Ball also starts.
Warriors: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Nikki Walker, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Jon Clarke, 11 Andy Short, 10 Joe Carlisle, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Blair Cowan, 7 Jake Abbott, 6 Richard de Carpentier, 5 Chris Jones, 4 Dean Schofield (c), 3 James Currie, 2 Ed Shervington, 1 George Porter.
Replacements: 16 Ollie Hayes, 17 Ceri Jones, 18 Rob O'Donnell, 19 James Percival, 20 Neil Best, 21 Ollie Frost, 22 Andy Goode, 23 Ben Howard.
Scarlets: 15 Andy Fenby, 14 Kristian Phillips, 13 Gareth Maule (c), 12 Adam Warren, 11 Lee Williams, 10 Aled Thomas, 9 Aled Davies, 8 Kieran Murphy. 7 Dan Thomas, 6 Craig Price, 5 Johan Snyman, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Kirby Myhill, 1 Shaun Hopkins.
Replacements: 16 Richard Wilkes, 17 Gareth Thomas, 18Peter Edwards, 19 George Earle, 20 Johnathan Edwards, 21 Rhodri Williams, 22 Owen Williams, 23 Nick Reynolds.
What they said...
Scarlets Head Coach Simon Easterby
"The LV=Cup was a highlight for us last season in terms of how well we competed, providing a number of emerging Scarlets with the chance to pit themselves against strong English opposition.
"We are once again handing opportunities this weekend to a number of the boys who have been working hard in training as part of our squad but have not had their chance to start. This is their chance - and we'll see a number of talented and committed developing players showing their ambition.
"We also have some key experience within this line- up to give strong foundations and we know from our pre-season fixture against Worcester, it be a very competitive game with plenty of physicality. It's going to be a good test and will show the intent and depth of talent within our Scarlets squad."
Warriors flanker Matt Kvesic
"Obviously last year (the LV=Cup) was a great opportunity for the younger guys who hadn't had much game time in the first team just to get a good run out," he said.
"It is great because you can string a few games together, get a few 80 minutes under your belt and there is a real chance you can push for the first team. A few of the boys did it last year and I think the great thing about the competition is that it gives the lads a chance to kick on a bit and have a crack at first team rugby, and it was massive for me last year.
"It is probably a little less pressure rugby than the Premiership and you are going out with a bunch of lads that you have been playing with since you were 16 in the academies."