Warriors duo return for cup decider in Perpignan

RECALLED: Jon Clarke will pull on the number 12 shirt for Warriors in place of Josh Matavesi, who drops to the bench.

RECALLED: Jon Clarke will pull on the number 12 shirt for Warriors in place of Josh Matavesi, who drops to the bench.

First published in Sport Worcester News: Photograph of the Author by , @tomguestWN #WENsport

CLUB captain Dean Schofield and former Northampton Saints centre Jon Clarke have been recalled to the Warriors starting XV for tomorrow’s Amlin Challenge Cup pool two decider at Perpignan (8pm GMT).

Lock James Percival has been standing in for Schofield – both in the second row and as skipper – but he has been given a well-deserved rest after a punishing few weeks at the coalface.

Clarke will pull on the number 12 shirt in place of Josh Matavesi, who drops to the bench, while fly-half Danny Gray, who has not featured all term since shoulder surgery in the summer, is fit enough to join the replacements.

Warriors head coach Richard Hill said: “I want to bring Dean back in to captain the team – that is a great change for us.

“It’s also about time we brought Jon in, so the likelihood is he will play instead of Josh. I might look at others, but those two are key for me to give them a chance.”

Meanwhile, Hill might be forced to search for a new attack coach after consultant Mathieu Rourre, who has been jetting into Sixways once a month to help develop Warriors’ attack strategy, was promoted by his club Biarritz.

Rourre, who was academy coach at the French Top 14 club, and Laurent Rodriguez have been put in charge of the first team by club president Sergo Blanco, after Jack Issac and Serge Milhas were removed from their positions following the 22-14 Heineken Cup defeat at Connacht.

Hill added: “Mathieu has taken over in the interim and I understand that Biarritz will be looking at a couple of coaches to come in and replace the two that have gone. Mathieu is holding the fort and is due back at Worcester in January. If Serge has not found two new coaches, then Mathieu will be required throughout January, he has got his work cut out to look after that team full-time so he won’t be able to come to us.

“It is great for him and I am sure he would love to take on Biarritz as well. But selfishly, from our point of view, I hope Serge does find two more coaches and releases Mathieu to come back to us.

“I only found out this week, I got a phone call on Monday night. It was a bit of a bombshell and one for him too.

“I’m delighted that he has been given the opportunity. I have been impressed by him and the players have really enjoyed it - it is fresh ideas and a fresh voice.

“He puts ideas in and then goes away for a few weeks while we work on it to develop them. In January he was coming to work on our counter-attack so we were already excited about that.”

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