28th Nov, 2020

Academy aces to the fore as Warriors tackle Wasps

Rob George 20th Aug, 2020 Updated: 20th Aug, 2020

WARRIORS will give Gallagher Premiership debuts to three current or recent members of the Three Pears Warriors Academy against Wasps at the Ricoh Arena on Friday (kick-off 7.45pm).

Wing Noah Heward, who is still on the Senior Academy, will have his first taste of senior rugby with scrum-half Gareth Simpson and lock James Scott, who recently graduated to the senior squad at Sixways, also making their competition debuts.

There are four more potential debutants among the replacements in former Oxford University tighthead prop Joe Morris, lock Justin Clegg, former Saracens centre Oli Morris – another current Senior Academy member – and back-row forward Caleb Montgomery in line for match action.

Montgomery made two appearances in the Premiership Rugby Cup at the start of the season but has not played since October because of a hand injury.

A much-changed squad includes 14 players who have either graduated from the Three Pears Warriors Academy or who are currently on the programme.

Centre Will Butler, one of those Academy graduates, will captain Warriors in the absence of injured Team Captain Matt Moulds and Club Captain Ted Hill, who played the full 80 minutes against Gloucester last Saturday. Butler will make the third Premiership appearance of his career but first in two years.

None of the side who started against Gloucester will be involved against Wasps but Scotland internationals Duncan Weir and Cornell du Preez, South Africa centre Francois Venter, hooker Beck Cutting, tighthead prop Richard Palframan and back-row forward GJ van Velze who came off the bench at the weekend, all start.

Chris Pennell replaces the suspended Melani Nanai at full-back and loosehead prop Callum Black returns to action for the first time since he sustained a foot injury at Saracens in early January.

Warriors | 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Noah Heward, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Will Butler (C), 11 Nick David, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Gareth Simpson, 1 Callum Black, 2 Beck Cutting, 3 Richard Palframan, 4 James Scott, 5 Andrew Kitchener, 6 GJ van Velze, 7 Tom Dodd, 8 Cornell du Preez.

Replacements | 16 Isaac Miller, 17 Lewis Holsey, 18 Joe Morris, 19 Justin Clegg, 20 Caleb Montgomery, 21 Jono Kitto, 22 Jamie Shillcock, 23 Oli Morris.

Unavailable: Joe Batley, Conor Carey, Ed Fidow, Perry Humphreys, Marco Mama, Matt  Moulds, Melani Nanai, Kai Owen.

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