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Warriors are battling to beat big freeze
WORCESTER Warriors expect tomorrow’s Amlin Challenge Cup clash against Gernika to go ahead despite the snow forecast and the message to fans is: Game on!
Widespread disruption to sporting fixtures is expected this weekend due to the freezing conditions but Sixways officials remain confident of the final pool match taking place.
An inflated heated dome has been covering the pitch since Tuesday and will remain in place until hours before the 3pm kick-off.
There are also plans in place to clear footpaths around the stadium should the snow arrive, including the use of a plough.
Head of operations at Warriors, Brian Ryan, said: “We have taken a lot of calls from supporters regarding the game and our message to them is that the game remains on as scheduled.
“We have been monitoring the weather for the past two weeks and have fully anticipated the conditions we have and will be experiencing.”
Warriors have named an unchanged team for the match with head coach Richard Hill keeping faith with the XV that won 80-17 in Rovigo last weekend.
That means another start for Josh Drauniniu who scored a hat-trick in Italy and signed a new deal at Sixways this week.
The only difference is on the bench with Scotland international tighthead Euan Murray and lock Chris Jones being included among the replacements.
Worcester claimed an 85-3 victory over Gernika when the teams met in Spain back in October, but assistant head coach Nigel Redman has vowed his team will show them respect.
“They scored two tries last weekend against Perpignan and only let in 50 points which I think is very respectable in as far as the side the French put out,” he said.
“The Basque country, whether you are in northern Spain or southern France, is a very proud rugby region.
“Gernika have beaten Rovigo home and away so they have got an awful lot out of this tournament.
“They will come to Worcester keen to give a very good account of themselves and it is important for both teams that they do that.
“The team played together against Rovigo and now we need to move up a level against Gernika.”
Redman added: “We have got a group of highly motivated players who see that this game and the next two LV= Cup fixtures are really important to keep momentum going at the club so that they can stake a claim for the next batch of Premiership matches.”
Warriors: Claassens; Walker, Clarke, Short, Drauniniu; Gray, Arr; Mullan, Hayes, O’Donnell, Schofield (c), Gillies, Betty, Abbott, Cowan. Replacements: Lutui, Currie, Murray, Jones, Best, Frost, Stelling, Howard.