TOP BAR - Fixtures

Kirwan and Annett return for local derby

Forwards Carl Kirwan and Niall Annett return to the Warriors starting line-up for Saturday’s local derby with Gloucester Rugby at Sixways (kick-off 2pm). 

Dean Ryan’s side will be chasing back-to-back Aviva Premiership wins after their away triumph at Newcastle Falcons last weekend.
 
Kirwan replaces the injured Dewald Potgieter in the back row next to skipper GJ van Velze and Phil Dowson, with Donncha O’Callaghan and Darren Barry continuing their partnership in the second row. 
 
Hooker Annett takes the place of Jaba Bregvadze, who is away on international duty with Georgia, to partner Val Rapava Ruskin and Nick Schonert in the front row. 
 
An unchanged backline sees top tryscorer Cooper Vuna link-up with Chris Pennell and Bryce Heem, while Wynand Olivier and Ryan Mills start in the centre. 
 
Fresh off the back of his man-of-the-match showing last time out, Francois Hougaard partners Tom Heathcote in the half-back combination. 
 
Ben Sowrey is recalled to the side among the replacements for the first time since January. 
 
Ryan said: “Local derbies are always slightly different games. There’s a little bit more tension and pressure as it’s a bigger occasion. 
 
“We’re starting to see some of the reward now for all of the players’ hard work.
 
“The Newcastle win gives us a catalyst to move on to the next game a bit quicker. You can get the same effort and performance but miss out on the last five minutes which has happened to us so many times and has a damaging effect into the next week.
 
“We’re very focused on getting a result this weekend. We were unlucky not to get something out of the game down there earlier in the season and we feel we’re a bit better this time around.”
 
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 Niall Annett
3 Nick Schonert
4 Donncha O’Callaghan
5 Darren Barry 
6 Phil Dowson
7 Carl Kirwan
8 GJ van Velze (C)
 
Replacements

16 Ben Sowrey
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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