WINGER David Lemi has given Worcester Warriors a huge boost by passing a fitness test ahead of Sunday’s Aviva Premiership trip to Newcastle Falcons (2pm).
The Samoan international, 32, was a doubt for the Kingston Park relegation decider after picking up a hamstring issue in last Friday’s 13-11 defeat to Wasps at Sixways.
However, he has come through training this week unscathed and keeps his place on the left flank. Tighthead prop Rob O’Donnell is director of rugby Dean Ryan’s only change to the side that lost to Wasps.
The former Rotherham front-rower comes in for Scotland international Euan Murray, who misses the game due to religious reasons.
Loan signing Jerome Schuster is named among the replacements and could make his Warriors debut after joining the club from Leicester Tigers last month.
Ryan said: “The pressure is on us because we are going into a game where we can’t afford to lose because, if we do, that’s pretty much it.
“The team has progressed massively. We can see tangible differences from what we were seeing several months ago.
“They are giving their all. There is a real clear buy-in to the team ethos that we are trying to build.”
The Warriors chief added: “Schuster has been great around the squad. We lost John Andress and we always knew Euan would be called-up for international action and that he wouldn’t be available on Sundays.
“The 23 that you see are pretty much going to be in the 23 every week. We just have to get them fresh enough and in the right space to give each game a go.”
The front-row sees Ofa Fainga’anuku and Agustin Creevy line-up alongside O’Donnell, while James Percival and Mariano Galarza make-up the second-row.
Mike Williams keeps his position at six next to man-of-the-match against Wasps Sam Betty and skipper Jonathan Thomas in the back-row.
Jonny Arr remains scrum-half with Ryan Lamb at stand-off and Ravai Fatiaki and Alex Grove in the centre. Josh Drauniniu and David occupy the wings with Chris Pennell at full-back.
Warriors: Pennell; Drauniniu, Grove, Fatiaki, Lemi; Lamb, Arr; Fainga’anuku, Creevy, O’Donnell, Percival, Galarza, Williams, Betty, Thomas.
Replacements: Shervington, Andrew, Schuster, Taulava, de Carpentier, Hodgson, Mieres, Symons.