CARLOS Spencer expects Worcester Warriors to try and make a statement at Sixways when they take on his star-studded Barbarians side tomorrow (Saturday).
The former New Zealand international will coach the side which will feature Carl Hayman and Ali Williams who have more than 100 All Black caps between them.
Warriors’ director of rugby Dean Ryan has also selected a strong team, with new recruits Phil Dowson, Andy Short, Carl Kirwan, Tom Heathcote, Na’ama Leleimalefaga and Luke Baldwin all named in the starting 15.
And as it will be Worcester’s first appearance at their home venue since being promoted to the Aviva Premiership, Spencer believes their opponents will present a tough challenge for the Baa-Baas.
“They’ve obviously just come back into the Premiership, so I don’t know a lot about them and neither do the players,” he said.
“They’ll obviously have high expectations and they will want to prove themselves.
“It is a great challenge for them to play against the Barbarians and re-tune to the Premiership, so they will want to be put out a bit of a statement.”
Barbarians’ last encounter saw them defeat Samoa 27-24 at the Olympic Stadium and Spencer said they were keen to back that up with another win, while also entertaining the crowd.
“The Barbarians are known for playing expansive rugby and nothing will change on the weekend,” he said. “To bring the Barbarians to this part of the world and against club teams is tremendous.
“The side usually plays international teams and does a bit of touring, so it is great to come to Worcester and great for the community.
“I just hope we get a good crowd and the sun shines, so we can play some exciting rugby.
“We’ve got a very unique group who do things a little differently Monday to Friday and that’s all part of being a Barbarian. So the boys like to enjoy themselves in the week, but when they get out there they put their heart and soul in it.”
Warriors: Pennell, Short, Stelling, Mills, Vuna, Heathcote, Baldwin, Leleimalefaga, George, Rees, Sanderson, O’Shea, Cox, Kirwan, Dowson (C)
Replacements: Sowrey, Rapava Ruskin, Daniels, Hewitt, Mama, Mulchrone, Grove, Howard
Barbarians: Sweeney, English, Tapuai, Olivier, Shipperley, Harris, Griffen, Robinson, Latu, Hayman, Jones, William, Thomson, Clever, Spies
Replacements: Guinazu, Traynor, Romano, Panceyra-Garrido, Hogg, Semenzato, Quartaroli, Brew