Aviva Premiership: James Percival set to return to Warriors side

Aviva Premiership: James Percival is set to return to the Worcester Warriors's side for the clash against Sale Sharks

James Percival will return for the Aviva Premiership’s bottom side Worcester Warriors as Sale Sharks visit Sixways on Saturday.

The giant 30-year-old lock is one of two changes to the side which faced Northampton Saints last Saturday as they go in search of their first win of the season.

We’re getting some unity around the group week after week and, if we can do it again, we will cause problems for Sale

Dean Ryan

Mike Williams also comes in at flanker in place of the suspended Jonathan Thomas after his red card at Franklin’s Gardens.

Ofa Fainga’anuku, Agustin Creevy and John Andress all retain their places in the front-row, with Mariano Galarza is named in the second-row, alongside Percival with Leonardo Senatore switching to number eight, alongside flankers Williams and Sam Betty.

Paul Warwick and Jonny Arr remain the half-back combination in a backline which also features Chris Pennell at full-back, Josh Drauniniu and David Lemi on the wings and Alex Grove and Ravai Fatiaki in the centre.

“I’ve been pleased with the group over the last couple of weeks,” said Warriors director of rugby Dean Ryan.

“This is an opportunity to put in another shift and, if we reach the level we have in the last two weeks, we might get something from it.

“We’re getting some unity around the group week after week and, if we can do it again, we will cause problems for Sale.

“We’ve given everybody a chance throughout the season and there have been some positions where we didn’t get clarity so chances for people just kept rolling. Sometimes throwing somebody else into the mix forces somebody else to try and get better and it works.

“We’ve closed the gap in terms of what we need physically and emotionally we can do it again this weekend.”

The visit of Sale Sharks to Sixways will see Mark Cueto make his 200th appearance for the Salford-based outfit.

The former England wing looking to add to his haul of 84 career tries and maintain the club’s hopes of closing the gap to Bath, Harlequins and Leicester to keep their hopes alive of reaching the end of season play-offs.

Coach Bryan Redpath makes two changes to the Sale starting XV from last week’s narrow Premiership 15-10 defeat to Saracens at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Tom Arscott comes in for Rob Miller at full-back alongside Cueto and Tom Brady in the back three as Johnny Leota and Sammy Tuitupou continue at centre.

The Sharks continue to boast an impressive half-back combination with Danny Cipriani outside Dwayne Peel.

In the forwards Eifion Lewis-Roberts, Marc Jones and Vadim Cobilas remain with lock Johnathan Mills in to partner Michael Paterson in the second row in place of Andrei Ostrikov with James Gaskell at No 8 behind flankers Dan Braid and David Seymour.

Worcester Warriors: Chris Pennell; Josh Drauniniu, Alex Grove, Ravai Fatiaki, David Lemi; Paul Warwick, Jonny Arr; Ofa Fainga’anuku, Agustin Creevy, John Andress, James Percival, Mariano Galarza, Mike Williams, Sam Betty, Leonardo Senatore.

Replacements: Ed Shervington, George Porter, Rob O’Donnell, Dean Schofield, Richard de Carpentier, Jeremy Su’a, Ryan Lamb, Dean Hammond.

Sale Sharks: Tom Arscott; Tom Brady, Johnny Leota, Sammy Tuitupou, Mark Cueto; Danny Cipriani, Dwayne Peel; Eifion Lewis-Roberts, Marc Jones, Vadim Cobilas, Johnathan Mills, Michael Paterson, Dan Braid, David Seymour, James Gaskell.

Replacements: Tommy Taylor, Ross Harrison, Tony Buckley, Viliami Peauafi Fihaki, Mark Easter, Will Cliff, Nick Macleod, Mark Jennings.

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