WORCESTER Warriors back row Marco Mama captains the side on his 50th appearance for the club in Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership match against Sale Sharks at Sixways (3pm).

The 28 year-old Zimbabwean initially joined Warriors on loan from Bristol in 2015 and signed a permanent deal at Sixways in January 2016.

Mama will become the second Warriors player in as many weeks to reach the 50-appearance milestone following scrum-half Francois Hougaard and he will move across the back row from number eight to the blindside flank.

He will guide Warriors in the absence of centre Ryan Mills (shoulder) who had been leading the side while club captain GJ van Velze was sidelined by a broken forearm.

Scotland number eight Cornell du Preez comes in at number eight for his first start since his move from Edinburgh last summer.

Du Preez suffered a fractured larynx on his debut against Wasps in September and made his comeback as a replacement in the European Challenge Cup quarter-final against Harlequins two weeks ago.

Tighthead prop Nick Schonert has recovered from the back injury that ruled him out of last week’s match at Wasps and takes his place in a re-jigged front row with Ethan Waller starting at loosehead.

Wing Bryce Heem also returns after recovering from a sore foot and former South Africa international Francois Venter will form a new centre partnership with England’s Ben Te’o in Mills’ absence.

Hooker Jack Singleton returns to the matchday squad as a replacement having recovered from an elbow injury and fly-half Jono Lance is also on the bench having recovered from the head injury he sustained in the win at Bristol.

Warriors: Pennell; Heem, Venter, Te’o, Adams; Weir, Hougaard; Waller, Annett, Schonert, Bresler, Barry, Mama, Lewis, du Preez. Replacements: Singleton, Black, Milasinovich, Kitchener, Hill, Heaney, Lance, Howe.

Sharks: L James; Solomona, S James, van Rensburg, Reed; MacGinty, de Klerk; Harrison, Webber, John, Beaumont, Phillips, Ross, Curry, Strauss. Replacements: Langdon, Morozov, Jones, Postlethwaite, Moore, Cliff, Redpath, Odogwu.