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Worcester Warriors trio set to make debut against Cardiff Blues
WARRIORS boss Richard Hill has handed debuts to a trio of summer signings as Worcester face Cardiff Blues in tomorrow’s pre-season opener at Cardiff Arms Park (2.30pm).
Hill has named a powerhouse pack for the trip over the border and new captain and former England international Dean Schofield will lead the team for the first time.
Schofield will team up with James Percival in the second row, while fellow lock Chris Jones has been named on the blindside flank. Giant number eight Semisi Taulava, snapped up from Rotherham Titans, will also pull on a Worcester jersey for the first time.
Jon Clarke, a summer recruit from Northampton Saints, who will look to form a strong partnership with Fiji international Ravai Fatiaki in midfield after being named at outside-centre.
Shaun Perry and Andy Goode combine at half-back, while Errie Claassens is rewarded for his impressive displays in the JP Morgan Sevens with a spot on the wing.
A number of rising stars also gain valuable experience with Ben Howard named on the opposite and prop James Currie packing down with ex-Wales international Ceri Jones and Aleki Lutui in the front row.
Prop Matt Mullan is named among the replacements after spending the week in camp with England Saxons, while Josh Matavesi could also make his full debut from the bench.
Blues’ director of rugby Davies, who was forwards coach at Worcester for the past two seasons, said: "It's nice to be playing against Worcester as I really enjoyed my time there and made some great friends.
"It will be nice to see some familiar faces. I know, having spoken to Richard Hill, that both teams will be using a number of players and trying out different combinations."
Warriors: Pennell; Claassens, Clarke, Fatiaki, Howard; Goode, Perry; Ceri Jones, Lutui, Currie, Schofield, Percival, Chris Jones, Betty, Taulava. Replacements: Hayes, Mullan, Furniss, Gillies, Cowan, Frost, J Carlisle, Matavesi, Grove, Nellany.
Cardiff Blues (first-half): Fish; James, Evans, Patchell, Williams; Tovey, Jones; Trevett, R Williams, Bourrust, Reed, Down,Cook, Navidi, Pertorius.
Second-half: Czekaj; O Williams, Evans, Davies, T Williams; Sweeney, Lewis; Filise, Kyriacou, Andrews, Copeland, Down, Watts-Jones, Young, Pertorius.