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Worcester Warriors wing star Josh Drauniniu returns for Exeter Chiefs trip
WING wizard Josh Drauniniu returns to the Warriors squad for Saturday’s Aviva Premiership trip to Exeter Chiefs, while Matt Mullan will start despite missing part of the week’s training on England duty.
Drauniniu, who has recovered from a knee injury, replaces Errie Claassens in the 23-man squad as Richard Hill’s only change to the team that beat Sale Sharks 23-16 last time out.
The versatile Chris Jones was dropped to the bench for the Sale game, but impressed as a second-half replacement and is set to win a recall as Hill shuffles his starting line-up.
The Sixways head coach admitted: “We may look at the back row a little bit — the likes of Chris, who is a lock really but has played well in the back row, has performed well at six for us, so I will have to look carefully at that.
“I will only be making one change to the 23, so it will be pretty much the same squad, but I could well jiggle things around a little bit within that.”
Hill added: “Matt will be fine to start — I spoke to him on the phone on Tuesday night and he said he hadn’t done too much, so he is fit, fresh and raring to go.
“Josh will come in and Errie will drop out. Errie played on the wing for us against Sale because we didn’t have Josh or Nikki Walker available, but they are both back now.
“Also, David Lemi was away with the Samoan squad earlier this week, but he’ll come back in for our team run on Friday and Josh will also be back in the 23.
“I haven’t put Nikki in the squad this week, but he is good and he trained with us yesterday, doing a full-on defensive session.
“He will play against the Scarlets in the LV= Cup the following week.”
Meanwhile, Hill is determined not to see a repeat of the misfiring line-out that was so problematic against Sale.
He added: “Working on our line-out has been our number one priority this week.
“It was all a bit of a shock that it was as poor as it was against Sale — at one stage in the first-half we only won one out of five.
“In training it works well, however, it hasn’t quite happened in the pressure of a match situation, but there is nothing else to do other than to keep working at it — they’ll just have to do twice as many in training as they did last week.
“I have set them a target of 80 per cent-plus on our ball and I’ll be very surprised if we don’t achieve that.”