NEW RECRUIT Bryce Heem will be hoping to launch his Worcester Warriors career with a victory when he makes his debut against Newcastle Falcons at Sixways tomorrow (Saturday).
The flying wing only arrived last week following his move from Super 15 side Waikato Chiefs, but he has been thrust straight into the action by director of rugby Dean Ryan.
Heem takes the place of the injured Tom Biggs who is recovering from concussion suffered in Warriors’ narrow 24-22 defeat to Gloucester last weekend.
Chris Pennell and Cooper Vuna are also part of a potent back three, while there is a recall in midfield for Alex Grove where he will link up with Ryan Mills.
Phil Dowson looked set to not make the cut after picking up a hip injury, but after missing out on training sessions he has been passed fit and will line up along side back rowers Marco Mama and skipper GJ van Velze.
In the second row, Darren Barry is back in the starting line-up in place of Tevita Cavubati to partner Donncha O’Callaghan.
Val Rapava Ruskin has been handed his first start in the front row which contains Niall Annett and Nick Schonert, while Georgian hooker Jaba Bregvadze could make his debut after being named on the bench.
With Newcastle struggling at the bottom and with no points to their name, Ryan said he understood how important it was to get wins on the board.
“We’re quite pleased with where we are and how we’re playing,” Ryan said. “We just need to nail down some wins and stop being plucky losers. This group has come back, worked hard and is ready to go again.
“We wanted to get some momentum early on in the season and this game is a chance to keep up that momentum.
“The Premiership is competitive week in week out. Newcastle have been in there a couple of years and will be adept at the things they need to survive. Every single game is a huge challenge for us.
“We’re expecting everybody to come out and get behind us so let’s see if we can get another good performance on the board.”
Warriors’ side to face Falcons:
Pennell, Heem, Grove, Mills, Vuna, Heathcote, Arr, Rapava Ruskin, Annett, Schonert, O’Callaghan, Barry, Dowson, Mama, Van Velze (C)
Replacements: Bregvadze, Leleimalefaga, Rees, Cavubati, Cox, Mulchrone, Lamb, Howard