BRITISH and Irish Lions pair Duhan van der Merwe and Rory Sutherland will return to club action with Warriors for the match against Newcastle Falcons (kick-off 3pm). 

Wing van der Merwe has recovered from the ankle injury that would have ruled him out of last week’s cancelled match at Gloucester.

And loosehead prop Sutherland has overcome the fractured rib he sustained playing for Scotland against Wales in the Six Nations, and the respiratory infection that would have kept him out of the Gloucester match.

Van der Merwe and Sutherland are among four changes to the side that beat Exeter Chiefs in Warriors last league game three weeks ago.

Gareth Simpson starts at scrum-half in place of Willi Heinz, who has since returned to New Zealand, and Kyle Hatherell comes into the back-row at blindside flanker.

Hatherell will be making his first appearance since he suffered a shoulder injury at Sale Sharks almost two months ago.

Ted Hill moves to the openside flank to accommodate Hatherell for Newcastle’s first visit to Sixways since September 2018.

Five of the eight replacements were involved in the 13-7 win over Bath Rugby at The Rec on Wednesday which secured Warriors a place in the semi-finals.

Four of them – Justin Clegg, Jack Forsythe, Billy Searle and Perry Humphreys – played the full 80 minutes at Bath.

If Clegg comes off the bench against Newcastle it will be the 50th senior appearance for Warriors for the former England Under-20s lock who made his debut as a replacement against Bristol in an Anglo Welsh Cup match in November 2016.

The Newcastle match at Sixways is also Warriors’ Armed Forces Day when the Army, Navy and RAF will be represented and club owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham will demonstrate a commitment to the support and fair treatment of all those who serve, and have served, their country and their families.


Worcester Warriors


Starters | 15 Noah Heward, 14 Alex Hearle, 13 Oli Morris, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Fin Smith, 9 Gareth Simpson, 1 Rory Sutherland, 2 Niall Annett, 3 Christian Judge, 4 Joe Batley, 5 Graham Kitchener, 6 Kyle Hatherell, 7 Ted Hill (C), 8 Sione Vailanu

Replacements | 16 Isaac Miller, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Murray McCallum, 19 Justin Clegg, 20 Jack Forsythe, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Billy Searle, 23 Perry Humphreys


Newcastle Falcons


Starters |15 Tom Penny, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 George Wacokecoke, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Mateo Carreras, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Louis Schreuder, 1 Adam Brocklebank, 2 George McGuigan, 3 Trevor Davison, 4 Greg Peterson, 5 Sean Robinson, 6 Josh Basham, 7 Will Welch (captain), 8 Freddie Lockwood

Replacements | 16 Jamie Blamire, 17 Kyle Cooper, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 Marco Fuser, 20 Rob Farrar, 21 Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti, 22 Will Haydon-Wood, 23 Ben Stevenson