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Injuries hit Warriors ahead of pre-season friendlies
WITH just one day until Warriors begin their pre-season friendlies at Cardiff Blues, the Sixways side have been hit by a mini injury crisis.
Worcester flanker Jake Abbott, who ripped a hamstring during the JP Morgan Sevens, has been ruled out for six weeks.
He joins fly-half Danny Gray (shoulder) and centre Andy Short (broken wrist) in missing the start of the impending Aviva Premiership campaign.
Added to that trio, head coach Richard Hill has revealed eight others are unavailable for tomorrow’s Blues contest (2.30pm) through minor knocks.
But he is remaining tight-lipped on the identity of another player – one of his summer recruits – who is also set to miss the start of the season.
The club are awaiting the outcome of scan results before revealing who he is.
Hill said: “We have picked up a few more injuries than we would have liked. We currently have 12 players who are unavailable – three of those from the JP Morgan Sevens at Gloucester.
“I did want to use two separate squads for these two games against the Welsh sides (Blues and Llanelli Scarlets at home a week tomorrow), but some players will now naturally get more rugby.”
The trip to Cardiff Arms Park will see Hill go head-to-head with former Sixways forwards coach Phil Davies, who left Warriors to become the Blues director of rugby over the summer.
Worcester’s new captain Dean Schofield leads the side for the first time in the Welsh capital and is set to form a power-packed second-row combination with fellow enforcer James Percival.
A heavyweight pack will also feature giant number eight Semisi Taulava, while another new recruit, former Northampton centre Jon Clarke, is in line for a start in midfield.
Hill added: “There are some nerves ahead of the first game, there always are. Blues are a powerful team and have a great set-up under Phil, who I am looking forward to seeing.
“After eight weeks of pre-season training, the players are all looking forward to getting started and to see where we are on the pitch after all this hard work.
“This is ultimately a trial for the players to see which individual players and combinations work well for us.
“There is huge competition for places, more so than there has ever been in my time here.
“In previous seasons I would have known my starting line-up by this time of year, but that is now not the case.”
Meanwhile, young Warriors winger Josh Watkins has been selected in the England Under 18s starting XV to face Wales in the opening game of their three-match tour to South Africa in Wellington tomorrow (2pm BST).