Win at Worcester will secure Connacht top spot


Perry Humphreys starts on the wing for Worcester
European Challenge Cup
Venue: Sixways Date: Saturday 13, January Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Hereford & Worcester. Updates/report on BBC Sport website

Worcester make six changes as they look to close in on the knockout stages of the European Challenge Cup.

Perry Humphreys, Dean Hammond, Jamie Shillcock, Simon Kerrod, Darren Barry and Pierce Phillips are all recalled after the defeat by Bath last time out.

Back row Matt Cox is named on the bench and could make his first appearance since September after a bicep injury.

Pro14 side Connacht will secure top spot in Pool Five, and a place in the quarter-finals, if they win.

Beaten 2008 finalists Worcester are looking to book a place in the last eight for the first time since 2009.

Warriors host Connacht before their final Pool 5 group game in France at Brive next Saturday (20 January, 14:30 GMT).

Sitting second in their group, Warriors have picked up 12 points in their first four games and must finish top of the group, or as one of the three best second-placed teams in the pools, if they are to progress to the quarter-finals.

Worcester Warriors in Europe

  • Worcester Warriors reached the Challenge Cup final in 2008, winning every pool game, then beating Newcastle and Montpellier before losing 24-16 to Bath at Kingsholm.
  • A year later, they beat Brive in the quarter-finals before losing 22-11 to Bourgoin in the semis.
  • Since then, they have failed to qualify from their group, finishing 3rd (2010), 2nd (2012), 2nd (2013), 4th (2014), 4th (2016) and 3rd (2017).
  • Last season, they lost narrowly in both group games with Brive, 25-24 at Sixways, before being beaten 17-14 in France by Gaetan Germain’s long-range added-time penalty.

Worcester: Adams; Humphreys, Pennell, Mills, Hammond; Shillcock, Hougaard; Waller, Singleton, Kerrod, Barry, Phillips, Denton, Lewis, Van Velze (capt).

Replacements: Williams, Bower, Alo, Taylor, Cox, Dowsett, Olver, Howard.

Connacht: O’Halloran; Leader, Aki, Farrell, Adeolokun; Ronaldson, Marmion; McCabe, Heffernan, Carey, Dillane, Roux, Masterson, Butler, Muldoon (capt).

Replacements: Delahunt, Coulson, Robertson-McCoy, Thornbury, Dawai, Blade, Griffin, Kelleher.

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