David Lemi facing fitness test for Newcastle showdown

6:00am Wednesday 26th March 2014

By Tom Guest

DEAN Ryan will give winger David Lemi as long as possible to recover from a hamstring injury ahead of Sunday’s Aviva Premiership relegation showdown with Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park (2pm).

The veteran Samoan international set up Sam Betty’s try against Wasps on Friday night with a mesmerising touchline burst, but was replaced shortly afterwards as the injury flared up.

However, director of rugby Ryan revealed the problem is nerve related rather than a muscle tear and is hopeful Warriors’ leading try-scorer will be fit for the crucial clash.

With Falcons boss Dean Richards having branded Lemi “too old and past it” at a recent fans’ forum, the 32-year-old will be desperate for the chance to make the controversial former England number eight eat his words.

One Worcester player who definitely won’t be involved at Kingston Park is tighthead prop Euan Murray, who does not play on Sundays due to his religious beliefs.

Ironically, the much-maligned former Newcastle prop produced his best performance in Worcester colours in last Friday’s gut-wrenching 13-11 defeat to Wasps, but will sit out this weekend’s clash.

With Murray absent and John Andress sidelined by a neck injury, recent recruit from Leicester Tigers, Jerome Schuster, is in line for his Worcester debut.

Ryan said: “Our biggest concern is Dai (Lemi). It isn’t a muscular tear but more of a neural problem, which gives us a chance of getting him out there on Sunday.

“I don’t know enough about it to say how likely he is to play, but he’d have no chance if it was a tear.

“We have some bumps and bruises, but we aren’t looking to make many changes.

“We know who the group are – there will be some tactical changes – but the 23 who played Wasps will be most of the ones who play this weekend.”

Ryan added: “I thought Friday’s game against Wasps was the best Euan has played for Worcester since my time at the club, so it’s frustrating to lose him again.

“We knew that, though, and now’s not the time to jump up and down about it, but it puts us in a difficult position.

“We’ve had to deal with that all year and we have to ask the next guy to come in.

“Jerome will have to be ready for first-team action because there is no one else.

“He has been great around the squad, but had a difficult first game being thrown in against the Army.

“We knew we had to bring someone in when we lost John as we knew Euan would get called back into the Scotland squad when he was fit, plus we knew he wouldn’t be here on Sundays, so that restricts your options.”


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