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Amlin Challenge Cup: Worcester v Biarritz match preview

Last updated: 5th December 2013  

dean ryan worcester warriors

Dean Ryan: Has decided against wholesale changes despite quick turnaround

Paul Warwick for Worcester

Paul Warwick: Comes into the Worcester side at fly-half

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Worcester director of rugby Dean Ryan has named a strong starting XV for their clash with Biarritz in the Amlin Challenge Cup at Sixways on Thursday.

The Warriors host the French side just five days after an Aviva Premiership clash with Northampton but have decided not to ring the changes.

Just four alterations are made from the line-up that started in the defeat to the Saints, with Paul Warwick and Jeremy Su'a forming a new half-back partnership.

The other changes come in the pack as Edd Shervington comes in for Chris Brooker at hooker and Chris Jones replaces Richard de Carpentier at Flanker.

Worcester know that a win is crucial, the Warriors having only gained two points from their opening two matches in Pool 1.

Biarritz are three points ahead of third-placed Worcester with Sale four points ahead at the top of the table. With only the winners of each pool qualifying for the quarter-finals, a loss would be extremely damaging to the Warriors' last-eight hopes.

"We've not made wholesale changes but it allows the opportunity for other people to come in and make a statement," Ryan told Worcester's official website.

"It's not about competition. It's about the club and what is right for the club each time. The side is significantly different to the side from the start of the season and that's because of those opportunities that have been provided.

"For 60 minutes on Saturday we were outstanding against one of the best sides in the country and everyone can see the improvement in the physicality of the side over the last eight or nine weeks."

Worcester: Pennell, Stephenson, Grove, Matavesi, Hammond, Warwick, Su'a; Fainga'anuku, Shervington, O'Donnell, Percival, Galarza, Jones, Betty, Thomas (c).

Replacements: Seymour, Porter, Andress, Williams, Schofield, Hodgson, Mieres, Stelling.

Biarritz: Couet-Lannes, Ngwenya, Sella, Gimenez, Brew, Peyrelongue (c), Roussarie; Barcella, Dabti, Broster, Lockley, Marie, Furno, Molcard, Fono.

Replacements: Whittaker, Synaeghel, Van Staden, Lund, Guyot, Lesgourgues, Baby, Waenga.

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