COACH Gordon Ross is relishing the prospect of Worcester Cavaliers getting their Premiership Rugby Challenge Shield campaign started under the Sixways floodlights against Sale Jets on Monday night (7.30pm).

Cavaliers pushed hard for a place in the semi-finals last season but have had to wait patiently for the new campaign as the competition for Gallagher Premiership club A teams was pushed back two months due to the Rugby World Cup.

Worcester are expected to include most of the Warriors side who impressed in the European Challenge Cup match win at Enisei-STM in Russia last week along with academy players such as Morgan Monks, Callum Morris and Luke Scully.

“Our hope for this season is to see an improvement in performances from week to week from the players,” said former Scotland fly-half Ross.

“They have a fantastic opportunity to prove themselves in a very competitive Premiership Rugby Shield.

"As coaches we want to see the players perform well and get an opportunity at a higher level for Worcester Warriors and for the younger players if they perform well they could get an opportunity at representative rugby.

“We want the players to go out and express themselves. We want them to make good decisions on the field and if they make mistakes they learn from it next time. At the same time we want to win matches.

“All the academy lads have worked extremely hard in training. A few of them got well-deserved opportunities in the Premiership Rugby Cup and also last week in Europe.

“We want the young lads to be playing rugby as often as possible. For the guys that train each week with the senior group and played last week they will only benefit from challenging themselves against the senior players and different opposition.

“All the academy players not only enjoyed the game but are buzzing to play again and show how good they are individually and as a group.

“The boys love playing at Sixways and hopefully they will turn up with the same attitude and skill level they have shown throughout the season.

"If they do that then hopefully the supporters that come out to watch will be proud of the performance.

“As coaches we have been really encouraged by what the boys have done so far. The challenge for the players is to perform against very good opposition.”

Fiji international tighthead prop Ropate Rinakama is set to make his first appearance for the club.

Rinakama arrived at Sixways earlier this month on a short-term contract while Nick Schonert and Farai Mudariki were recovering from injuries.

He has been named as a replacement in a provisional squad with former Oxford University tighthead Joe Morris in the starting XV.

Admission is free for Warriors season ticket holders and under 16s and £5 for everyone else.

Cavaliers: van Breda; Howe, O Morris, Scully, David; Simpson, Kitto; Bower, Miller, J Morris, Clegg, Scott, Monks, Cox, Dodd. Replacements: Cutting, Owen, Rinakama, C Morris, McNab (Hartpury).