By Geoff Berkeley Friday 11 January 2013 Updated: 11/01 11:10
SECOND row Dean Schofield has been handed the captaincy as Worcester Warriors bid to keep their European dreams alive against Femi-CZ VEA Rovigo in northern Italy tomorrow (Saturday, 3pm).
The vastly experienced lock will lead a much-changed Warriors starting line-up out at the Stadio Mario Battaglini for the Amlin Challenge Cup encounter.
Four of the ten changes made by head coach Richard Hill are in the back division as Errie Claassens, Andy Short, Nikki Walker and Danny Gray, who makes his first start of the season, are all recalled.
A new-look front row will see Matt Mullan, Ollie Hayes and Rob O’Donnell pack down while Craig Gillies, the club’s leading appearance maker in European competition, partners Schofield in the second row.
Sam Betty retains his place from the Leicester Tigers game but is joined by flanker Jake Abbott and Blair Cowan in the back row.
Youngsters Ben Howard and Max Stelling, who scored a hat-trick against Bizkaia Gernika RT earlier in the competition, are among the replacements.
Assistant head coach Nigel Redman admitted the tie provided Warriors with the chance to give an opportunity for some of the fringe players to shine.
"It is a wonderful opportunity for the players who have been playing and those who haven’t to maintain the momentum we’ve built-up over the last seven or eight weeks performance-wise," Redman said.
"We have a squad of 37 players and it is important that those players have the opportunity to show what they can do.
"We have to maintain our focus and make sure we come away from the game with at least four tries to put the pressure on Perpignan.
"There will also be a big emphasis on individual performances and players will make sure they are pushing each other for selection in the LV= Cup and Aviva Premiership."
Warriors' side to face Femi CZ-VEA Rovigo:
Claassens, Walker, Clarke, Short, Drauniniu, Gray, Arr, Mullan, Hayes, O’Donnell, Schofield (c), Gillies, Betty, Abbott, Cowan
Replacements: Lutui, Currie, Andress, Percival, Best, Frost, Stelling, Howard
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