Aviva Premiership preview: Worcester Warriors v Wasps
Last Updated: 21/03/14 10:14pm
The Aviva Premiership returns on Friday following Six Nations action and lowly Worcester Warriors go in search of their first league success when Wasps visit Sixways Stadium.
Dean Ryan's men have endured a league season to forget with 16 straight defeats while mid-table Wasps have 30 more points than their rivals.
Worcester can take heart from the fact they won this fixture 29-23 last season and they need to start winning sooner rather than later if they are to stand a chance of staying up.
Scotland prop Euan Murray returns from Six Nations duty to pack down against Wasps.
Wing Josh Drauniniu is back instead of an injured Dean Hammond, while the rest of the team is unchanged following a one-point defeat against Harlequins in Warriors' last league game.
"We know we stare at relegation if we can't win at Newcastle and winning against Wasps is the key to being successful at Kingston Park," Ryan told Worcester's official website.
"Relegation has sat heavy over the club since losing to London Irish and Newcastle at home early in the season. The stakes are that high. Ryan Lamb coming in has given a bit of direction and a bit of freshness to the squad."
England lock Joe Launchbury is straight back into Premiership action with Wasps following the Six Nations.
Prop Matt Mullan, who was on bench duty for England in Rome last weekend, also starts, and Italy back Andrea Masi features in midfield.
Wasps captain Chris Bell said: "Worcester are not a bad side and they have been playing very well recently so we know that we will be up against a good side, as we are every week in the Aviva Premiership.
"If we don't turn up and play as well as we can do we will be in for a very tough night at Sixways."
Worcester: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Josh Drauniniu, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Ravai Fatiaki, 11 David Lemi, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Jonathan Thomas (c), 7 Sam Betty, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 James Percival, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Ofa Fainga'anuku.
Replacements: 16 Ed Shervington, 17 Paul Andrew, 18 Rob O'Donnell, 19 Semisi Taulava, 20 Richard de Carpentier, 21 Paul Hodgson, 22 Ignacio Mieres, 23 Andy Symons.
London Wasps: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 James Short, 13 Andrea Masi, 12 Chris Bell, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Sam Jones, 7 James Haskell, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Tom Lindsay, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Carlo Festuccia, 17 Ricky Reeves, 18 Simon McIntyre, 19 Tom Palmer, 20 Nathan Hughes, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Joe Carlisle, 23 Charlie Hayter.
Fri 8th May
Harlequins0 - 0Bath
Sat 9th May
Sale Sharks0 - 0Newcastle Falcons
Gloucester0 - 0London Irish
Northampton0 - 0London Welsh
Wasps0 - 0Leicester Tigers
Sun 10th May
Saracens0 - 0Exeter
Sat 16th May
Bath0 - 0Gloucester
Exeter0 - 0Sale Sharks
Leicester Tigers0 - 0Northampton
London Irish0 - 0Wasps
London Welsh0 - 0Saracens
Newcastle Falcons0 - 0Harlequins
Aviva Premiership 2013/14 Round 17
Leicester boss Richard Cockerill remains hopeful of holding on to winger Vereniki Goneva despite interest from France.
Leicester consolidated fourth place in the Aviva Premiership with a 45-15 thumping of Exeter at Welford Road on Sunday.
Neal Hatley was full of praise for fly-half George Ford after Bath's 44-23 away victory over London Irish.