Rare start for George Porter in Warriors cup finale

12:30pm Friday 17th January 2014

GEORGE Porter will start for the first time since October when Worcester Warriors host Oyonnax in the Amlin Challenge Cup tomorrow (3pm).

The 24-year-old former Plymouth Albion loosehead prop is one of three changes from the side which lost 21-3 at Sale Sharks in the competition last Friday.

Ignacio Mieres comes back in at fly-half, while Ravai Fatiaki returns to the starting line-up at centre against the French visitors, who are third-from-bottom in the Top 14.

Youngster Josh Watkins is given another chance to impress on the wing after a fine debut performance last week.

Warriors, who prop up the Aviva Premiership with 12 straight defeats this season, have also been boosted by the return of wing Dean Hammond as a replacement following a knee injury.

The South African could make his first appearance since last month's cup trip to Biarritz.

Former Cornish Pirates prop Paul Andrew is also named on the bench as Warriors look to end their Amlin campaign on a high with just one draw from five fixtures - a 9-9 tie at Oyonnax last October - currently placing them at the foot of the table.

Worcester director of rugby Dean Ryan said: "What is most important to us now is that we have as many players available to us going into the Leicester match so we have to get it right over the next few weeks.

"We will be utilising the opportunity to allow people to compete for places and give the likes of Ben (Howard) and Josh some more game-time.

"A few people have moved around and we have had to make some changes because of injury but, other than that, we are deliberately keeping people in.

"Selection is always based around the club winning each week and opportunities to make the club better for the future. Those two things will continue.”

Warriors: Howard; Drauniniu, Fatiaki, Matavesi, Watkins; Mieres, Arr; Porter, Shervington, Andress, Schofield, Williams, Jones, Betty, Senatore. Replacements: Seymour, Andrew, O'Donnell, Percival, de Carpentier, Hodgson, Hammond, Stelling.

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