Worcester v Yorkshire Carnegie: Warriors out to maintain pressure

Sam Smith
Worcester winger Sam Smith scored four tries when Warriors rallied from 17-0 down to beat Yorkshire Carnegie in December

Worcester are chasing a 17th bonus-point Championship win of the season on Saturday when they host Yorkshire Carnegie at Sixways, still needing to keep the pressure on leaders Bristol.

The Warriors' shock loss in Jersey last month allowed Bristol to go back on top but, with three games of the regular season left, it is not over yet.

Dean Ryan's Worcester are just three points behind Andy Robinson's Bristol.

And all looks likely to hinge on their league meeting at Sixways on 25 April.

That will be the Warriors' final game before going into the play-offs and looks likely to determine who would have home advantage for the second leg of the Championship play-off final, if, as expected, Bristol and Worcester both make it that far.

Last time out: Warriors rally to Headingley win
Worcester came back from a 14-0 half-time deficit to win 36-17 when the two sides met at Headingley in late December. Winger Sam Smith scored four of their six tries.
Leeds have not won at Sixways since 2000. Their last visit to Sixways, in September 2009, ended in a 27-7 loss.
Worcester's Championship title rivals Bristol are away at Plymouth Albion. Bristol have won the last 14 meetings between the two teams.

First, Ryan's men face Bryan Redpath's Yorkshire Carnegie - destination for Leeds and England star Kevin Sinfield next season - and then Cornish Pirates away.

Following their British and Irish Cup triumph at Doncaster on Good Friday with a virtual reserve side, Ryan has made numerous changes for Worcester's return to league action.

Sam Lewis will start only his third game at flanker following last month's move from Ospreys, one of four changes to the side which thrashed London Scottish 56-15 in their last Championship outing on 28 March.

Argentina captain Agustin Creevy, who has announced his intention to leave at the end of the season, returns at hooker, while Val Rapava Ruskin comes back in at prop and Ryan Mills is recalled at centre.

Carnegie make seven changes to the side that narrowly beat Jersey 16-12, including Jon Clarke, who will face his former club at centre.

Worcester director of rugby Dean Ryan:

"Our B&I Cup team were really clinical last Friday. Staying with that side all the way through has really risen the standards across the whole club.

"We don't need to settle yet. We probably won't settle until the final couple of games, but there's no wholesale changes.

"We gave one of our poorest performances this season against Yorkshire. That was a disappointment. It'll be interesting to see how we react."

Worcester: Pennell; Smith, Stelling, Mills, Vuna; Lamb, Arr; Rapava Ruskin, Creevy, Schonert, Williams, Thomas, Senatore, Lewis, van Velze (capt).

Replacements: George, Bower, O'Shea, Betty, Mulchrone, Symons, Howard.

Yorkshire Carnegie: Georgiou; Doherty, Clarke, Lucock, Goss; Grimoldby, Edgerton; Imiolek, Nilsen, Hill, Harris, Smith, Jones, Walker, Burrows (capt).

Replacements: Graham, Tideswell, Beech, Ramshaw, Pilgrim, Leonard, Fitzpatrick.

Top Stories