WING Josh Drauniniu makes his first league start since November as Worcester Warriors face Leicester Tigers in the Aviva Premiership at Sixways tomorrow night (8pm).
Head coach Richard Hill makes a total of six changes to the starting line-up from the side that lost to Sale Sharks as Warriors look to start 2013 with a crucial victory and maintain the club’s strong home form.
Scrum-half Jonny Arr will partner Andy Goode at half-back, with former England international Paul Hodgson ruled out of the game with a jaw injury.
Centre Jon Clarke is also named in the back division with Josh Matavesi among the replacements.
Three changes in the pack see a return for hooker Aleki Lutui, while Sam Betty plays in the back row alongside Matt Kvesic and Semisi Taulava. Ex-Ireland ace Neil Best is named on the bench and could make his 50th appearance for Warriors if he features.
Lock Dean Schofield will join James Percival, who retains the captaincy, in the second row. Fit-again prop Matt Mullan is recalled to the bench alongside scrum half Ollie Frost.
Hill said: “There are a number of changes to the starting line-up as we look to keep the squad fresh after a run of bruising encounters.
“There were a number of battered and bruised bodies after the game at Sale and it is vital the team that starts is in the best physical shape for such a crucial game.
“Paul misses out after picking up a jaw injury, but I know Jonny will be keen to grasp this opportunity. We also call-up Aleki, Dean, Sam, Jon and Josh and they will be determined to take advantage of this chance to shine.
“We have a real sense of pride when playing in front of our fans at Sixways, but this will undoubtedly be our toughest challenge yet,” added Hill.
“If we want to keep our home record intact we have got to pull out all the stops and raise the bar once more against Leicester Tigers.”
Warriors: Pennell; Drauniniu, Grove, Clarke, Lemi; Goode, Arr; Ceri Jones, Lutui, Murray, Percival, Schofield, Betty, Kvesic, Taulava. Replacements: Shervington, Mullan, Andress, Chris Jones, Best, Frost, Gray, Matavesi.