Worcester have handed debuts to three youngsters for their Friday night Gallagher Premiership trip to Wasps, with the possibility of four more players making their competition debut from the bench at the Ricoh Arena.
Beaten comprehensively by Gloucester when the 2019/20 league season recommenced last weekend, the Warriors’ reshuffle will see wing Noah Heward, who is still in the senior academy, get his first taste of the Premiership, with scrum-half Gareth Simpson and lock James Scott, who recently graduated to the senior squad at Sixways, also making their competition debuts.
There are four more potential Premiership debutants among the Worcester replacements in former Oxford University tighthead prop Joe Morris, lock Justin Clegg, former Saracens centre Oli Morris – another current senior academy member – and back row forward Caleb Montgomery.
None of the side who started against Gloucester will be involved against Wasps but Scotland internationals Duncan Weir and Cornell du Preez, South Africa centre Francois Venter, hooker Beck Cutting, tighthead prop Richard Palframan and back row forward GJ van Velze will all start after coming off the bench last weekend.
Chris Pennell replaces the suspended Melani Nanai at full-back and loosehead prop Callum Black returns to action for the first time since he sustained a foot injury at Saracens in early January.
He's no household name but the story of @AlexRieder1 is a compelling insight into hardships inflicted by the sport: shattered limbs, dependence on painkillers and an onerous mental health battle that preyed on vulnerabilities
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) July 19, 2020
Lee Blackett, meanwhile, will give first Wasps starts to Ben Vellacott and Ryan Mills, the pair who came off the bench to make their debuts in last Sunday’s win over Northampton Saints.
There are two potential Premiership debutants in the 23, as Alfie Barbeary and Theo Vukasinovic are named among the replacements.
WASPS: 15. Rob Miller; 14. Paolo Odogwu, 13. Michael Le Bourgeois, 12. Ryan Mills, 11. Marcus Watson; 10. Lima Sopoaga, Ben Vellacott; 1. Simon McIntyre, 2. Tom Cruse, 3. Biyi Alo, 4. Tim Cardall, 5. James Gaskell (capt), 6. Ben Morris, 7. Gabriel Oghre, 8. Tom Willis. Reps: 16. Alfie Barbeary, 17. Tom West, 18. Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 19. Theo Vukasinovic, 20. Sione Vailanu, 21. Sam Wolstenholme, 22. Jacob Umaga, 23. Matteo Minozzi.
WORCESTER: 15. Chris Pennell; 14. Noah Heward, 13. Francois Venter, 12. Will Butler (capt), 11. Nick David; 10. Duncan Weir, 9. Gareth Simpson; 1. Callum Black, 2. Beck Cutting, 3. Richard Palframan, 4. James Scott, 5. Andrew Kitchener, 6. GJ van Velze, 7. Tom Dodd, 8. Cornell du Preez. Reps: 16. Isaac Miller, 17. Lewis Holsey, 18. Joe Morris, 19. Justin Clegg, 20 Caleb. Montgomery, 21. Jono Kitto, 22. Jamie Shillcock, 23. Oli Morris.
"He gives us that big physical edge and we don’t want to tweak him too much"
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) August 19, 2020
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