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Five set for Warriors debuts in season opener

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Dean Ryan is set to hand Warriors debuts to five summer signings for Friday night’s Aviva Premiership opener with Northampton Saints at Sixways (kick-off 7.45pm).

Donncha O’Callaghan, Phil Dowson, Wynand Olivier, Tom Heathcote and Darren Barry are all set to make their Sixways bows while Marco Mama and Na’ama Leleimalefaga could also grab their first appearances for the Club from the bench.
 
A new-look second-row sees Ireland legend O’Callaghan link-up with former Cornish Pirate Barry while Dowson is set to take on his former club in the back-row alongside skipper GJ van Velze and Sam Lewis.
 
Scotland international Heathcote will start at fly-half with Ryan Mills at 12 and South African Olivier at outside-centre.
 
Chris Pennell, Cooper Vuna and Tom Biggs occupy the back three slots with the current squad’s record appearance-maker Jonny Arr at scrum-half.
 
Val Rapava Ruskin, Niall Annett and Nick Schonert make up the front-row as Warriors battle last season’s table-toppers.
 
There is also a place for Academy youngster Perry Humphreys on the bench who could win his first Premiership cap.
 
Director of Rugby Ryan said: "This is our opportunity to play here and represent the Club in the top flight of rugby.
 
"Once you get that and remember the challenges of last year, you get the excitement and we are genuinely excited about seeing Northampton here. This is exactly where we want to be.    
 
"O’Callaghan and Olivier are here to add substance to the middle of the business while Mills, Rapava Ruskin and Charlie Mulchrone are all coming to the table wanting their opportunity but need some experience around that.  
 
"This is a more strategic approach to see if we can get those people to up-skill themselves at this level because without it you can’t survive in the Premiership."
 
Warriors
15 Chris Pennell
14 Cooper Vuna
13 Wynand Olivier
12 Ryan Mills
11 Tom Biggs
10 Tom Heathcote
9 Jonny Arr

1 Val Rapava Ruskin
2 Niall Annett
3 Nick Schonert
4 Donncha O’Callaghan
5 Darren Barry
6 Phil Dowson
7 Sam Lewis
8 GJ van Velze (C)
 
Replacements
16 Dan George
17 Na’ama Leleimalefaga
18 Joe Rees
19 Darren O’Shea
20 Marco Mama
21 Charlie Mulchrone
22 Alex Grove
23 Perry Humphreys

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