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Dowson to start crunch clash

Phil Dowson is recalled to the Warriors starting line-up to take on former club Newcastle Falcons this Friday at Kingston Park (kick-off 7.45pm).

The experienced back row is the only change to the starting 15 which pushed Northampton Saints last weekend.

Dowson partners captain GJ van Velze and Dewald Potgieter in the back row while Donncha O'Callaghan lines up with Darren Barry in the second row.

Jaba Bregvadze keeps his place at hooker alongside props Val Rapava Ruskin and Nick Schonert, with the latter having started every Aviva Premiership game this term.

Cooper Vuna, the only other Warrior to have started every league game this season, is joined by Chris Pennell and Bryce Heem in the back three while Francois Hougaard starts at scrum-half where he'll continue to link-up with stand-off Tom Heathcote.

Ryan Mills and Wynand Olivier form the midfield partnership while Sam Betty is named on the replacements bench and could be set for his first appearance since January's clash at Wasps.

Director of Rugby Dean Ryan said: "There's nobody here that doesn't understand the significance of this game.

"Newcastle have developed a style of play which suits them at home and they've got decent momentum.

"The addition of Andy Goode has given them a boost. He's been a catalyst for their success.

"The game will be a bit faster on the 4G up there so it'll be more dynamic around rucks.

"We have to attack. I think it will suit us and the surface up there. Fingers crossed we don't get a storm because conditions can dictate how you approach a game in Newcastle."

Warriors

15 Chris Pennell
14 Bryce Heem
13 Wynand Olivier
12 Ryan Mills
11 Cooper Vuna
10 Tom Heathcote
9 Francois Hougaard

1 Val Rapava Ruskin
2 Jaba Bregvadze
3 Nick Schonert
4 Donncha O'Callaghan
5 Darren Barry
6 Phil Dowson
7 Dewald Potgieter
8 GJ van Velze (C)

Replacements:
16 Niall Annett
17 Na'ama Leleimalefaga
18 James Johnston
19 Dan Sanderson
20 Sam Betty
21 Luke Baldwin
22 Ryan Lamb
23 Andy Symons

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