SCRUM-HALF Francois Hougaard and tighthead prop Nick Schonert have been passed fit to start in Worcester Warriors' Aviva Premiership clash with relegation rivals London Irish at Sixways on Friday (7.45pm).

The duo were "touch and go" for the much-anticipated encounter with Hougaard struggling with a groin issue and Schonert battling to overcome a back problem.

But they will line-up against Irish along with back rowers David Denton and Gerrit-Jan van Velze who are both restored to the starting 15.

Van Velze returns following a rib knock while Denton has impressed in the recent block of European Challenge Cup matches to earn a spot at blindside flanker as Gary Gold’s side look to pull away from Irish at the bottom of the table.

The rest of the starting line-up is unchanged from the one that took on Sale Sharks three weeks ago.

Chris Pennell, Bryce Heem and Josh Adams form the pacey back three with Jackson Willison and Ryan Mills in the centre.

Hougaard and Jono Lance complete the half-back combination.

Ethan Waller, Jack Singleton and Schonert start in the front row while skipper Donncha O’Callaghan and Will Spencer maintain their places in the second row.

Sam Lewis joins Denton and Van Velze in the back row.

Darren Barry, Sam Olver and Perry Humphreys are called up to the squad as replacements after shining in the past couple of weeks against Oyonnax.

Warriors have picked up 13 points in their last four Premiership outings and sit six points ahead of Irish going into the clash.

Former Australia international Saia Fainga’a will make his full Aviva Premiership debut for Irish when they travel to Worcester.

The 36-times capped Wallaby starts at hooker alongside double World Cup winning All Black Ben Franks and experienced tighthead Petrus Du Plessis.

Ex-Springbok ace Franco van der Merwe and Samoan Teofilo Paulo get the nod in the engine room, while Mike Coman, Blair Cowan and Ofisa Treviranus make up the back row.

Cowan returns to his former club having spent the 2012/13 campaign at Sixways.

Meanwhile, Ben Meehan and James Marshall start at scrum-half and fly-half respectively, with Greig Tonks controlling affairs from full-back.

Skipper Fergus Mulchrone and Luke McLean start in the centres, while Joe Cokanasiga and Alex Lewington provide the pace on either wing.


15 Chris Pennell.

14 Bryce Heem.

13 Jackson Willison.

12 Ryan Mills.

11 Josh Adams.

10 Jono Lance.

9 Francois Hougaard.

1 Ethan Waller.

2 Jack Singleton.

3 Nick Schonert.

4 Donncha O’Callaghan (C).

5 Will Spencer.

6 David Denton.

7 Sam Lewis.

8 GJ van Velze.


16 Joe Taufete’e.

17 Ryan Bower.

18 Gareth Milasinovich.

19 Darren Barry.

20 Alafoti Faosiliva.

21 Michael Dowsett.

22 Sam Olver.

23 Perry Humphreys.

London Irish 

15 Greig Tonks. 

14 Joe Cokanasiga. 

13 Fergus Mulchrone (c). 

12 Luke McLean. 

11 Alex Lewington. 

10 James Marshall. 

9 Ben Meehan. 

1 Ben Franks. 

2 Saia Fainga’a. 

3 Petrus Du Plessis. 

4 Franco van der Merwe. 

5 Teofilo Paulo. 

6 Mike Coman. 

7 Blair Cowan. 

8 Ofisa Treviranus.


16 Tom Woolstencroft. 

17 Gordon Reid. 

18 Lovejoy Chawatama. 

19 Sebastian De Chaves. 

20 Max Northcote-Green. 

21 Scott Steele. 

22 Tommy Bell. 

23 Aseli Tikoirotuma.