Bedford v Worcester: Chris Pennell rested by Warriors

Goldington Road, Bedford
Goldington Road has been home to Bedford Rugby Football Club for the past 129 years

Worcester Warriors have opted not to risk England full-back Chris Pennell as they look to stretch their club-record winning run at Bedford on Saturday.

Pennell, who has been under scrutiny by England following a head injury to Mike Brown, missed the 49-10 win over Rotherham with a hamstring niggle.

And Worcester have again chosen to keep him sidelined at Goldington Road.

Having already booked a Championship play-offs place, table-topping Warriors are chasing a 22nd straight win.

Advantage Worcester at Sixways
Mat Gilbert scored two of the six tries when Worcester beat Bedford 42-12 in the corresponding home fixture back in November at Sixways, but the visitors scored two superb tries through Joe Vandermolen and Dean Adamson.

Winger Sam Smith returns to the Warriors starting line-up to complete a full-strength three-quarter line, one of three changes.

Tight-head prop Nick Schonert replaces Joe Rees in the front row, while Darren O'Shea comes in at lock for Jonathan Thomas, who returns to the back row in place of Argentina international Leonardo Senatore.

Fit-again Warriors veteran forward James Percival, who is back among the replacements, is in line for a first league appearance since November.

Bedford's director of rugby, former Wales full-back Mike Rayer, makes six changes to the side that lost 17-3 in Jersey last weekend.

Worcester Warriors director of rugby Dean Ryan:

"The first challenge was to get into the play-offs and we've done that now.

"The next challenge is to be as prepared as possible at the tail end of the year to cope with the play-off situation.

"It's something we've done well in recent weeks. We've gone in, got the job done and been sharp at the beginning so we'll be challenging ourselves to do that again this week.

"Goldington Road is a tough ground to go to. It's a tight and closed-in environment and the weather is supposed to be lively over the next couple of days so that will change things a bit tactically."

Bedford: Kerr; Tapley, Staff, Hakalo, Pritchard; Sharp, White; Moss, Harris, Currie, Howard, Gulliver, Blanchet, Fenton-Wells (capt), Vandermolen.

Replacements: Clare, Parilli-Ocampo, Boulton, Tupai, Thompson-Stringer, Veenendaal, Jones.

Worcester Warriors: Howard; Smith, Stelling, Symons, Biggs; Mills, Arr; Bower, Annett, Schonert, Williams, O'Shea, Thomas, Betty, van Velze (capt).

Replacements: George, Rapava Ruskin, Daniels, Percival, Mulchrone, Mieres, Hammond.

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