Rugby Union
Warriors chief braced for brutal encounter

By Geoff Berkeley 22/03 Updated: 23/03 10:21

Buy photos » Kai Horstmann returns at number eight as Warriors face bottom side Newcastle Falcons at Sixways. Picture by Ian Smith.

WORCESTER Warriors head coach Richard Hill is expecting a "brutal" encounter when his side go head-to-head with relegation-threatened Newcastle Falcons at Sixways tomorrow night (Friday 7.45pm).

With their north east opponents sitting eight points adrift of safety at the foot of the Aviva Premiership table and with just five matches remaining, Hill knows the visitors will be desperate to secure a win.

"This will be a brutal encounter against Newcastle, who are a very physical team," he said. "They are fighting for their survival, so it is going to be a tough game for us.

"But you can sense now, after two weeks off, the adrenaline is flowing, the smiles are back and the players are ready for the battle."

The visitors will be without hooker Rob Vickers and lock James Hall who are both suspended for tonight's game after being cited by the RFU after the Falcons' 9-9 draw with Harlequins at Kingston Park.

Hill felt Newcastle were within their rights to adopt such a physical approach against the league leaders and expects a similar style at Sixways.

"I didn't think they were particularly violent," Hill said.

"Yes there were a couple of incidents, but overall I just think they were exceptionally physical at the breakdown and in the tackle."

"For a team fighting for their survival they are not going to be nice about it, they are going to be fighting desperately to win their games."

Due to the potential ferocity of the clash, Hill has welcomed back number eight Kai Horstmann for his first start since suffering a torn hamstring against Harlequins in September.

Hill added: "We are going to give Kai Horstmann a start because we feel it is just the right sort of game for him to play.

"He is a proud person and this is a big game for him and our club so I am sure he will perform."

Meanwhile, James Percival and Marcel Garvey return to the starting line-up, while fit-again Ceri Jones has been selected among the replacements.

But Warriors will be without Errie Claassens, who has been sidelined with a knee injury, and Joe Carlisle, who is set to miss the next three to four weeks with a broken thumb.

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