JAMIE Shillcock will start his first Gallagher Premiership match in almost a year when Warriors face Wasps in a West Midlands derby at Sixways on Sunday (kick-off 1pm).
Shillcock will start at fly-half as Scotland international Duncan Weir faces a lengthy lay-off having sustained a shoulder injury at Leicester last weekend and Billy Searle is still recovering from a gashed thigh.
Shillcock, who replaced Weir at Leicester, made his last Premiership start at full-back on February 29 last year although he has started twice at fly-half this season in the European Rugby Challenge Cup matches against Pau and Ospreys this season.
Shillcock will have an experienced international pair outside him as South African Francois Venter returns to partner Welshman Ashley Beck in the centre. Venter will make his first start in two months having missed a month due to illness.
There are four changes to the pack that started at Leicester with hooker Isaac Miller called up for his first Premiership start of the season in place of Niall Annett who has been rested along with Marco Mama as part of the club’s rotation policy.
Ethan Waller and Justin Clegg, who were replacements at Leicester, return at loosehead prop and lock respectively, and Ted Hill returns to captain the side from the blindside flank.
Former captain GJ van Velze is in line to make his first appearance of the season off the bench having recovered from the serious shoulder injury he sustained at Exeter in late August.
Lock Andrew Kitchener has recovered from an elbow injury and is also on the bench along with rookie fly-half Fin Smith who is in line to make his debut.
If Smith does get on he will become only the second 18-year-old to play for Warriors in the Premiership. Lock Graham Kitchener, who will start on Sunday, was 18 years and 195 days old when he made his debut against Wasps in April 2008. Jonny Arr was only 18 years and 129 days old when he was named as a replacement against Bristol in 2007 but he was not used.
Smith, who will be 18 years and 279 years old Sunday, impressed playing for Warriors Under-18s last season before joining the Three Pears Academy during the summer and has since been included in this season’s England Under-20s Elite Player Squad.
Warriors | 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Perry Humphreys, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Nick David, 10 Jamie Shillcock, 9 Gareth Simpson, 1 Ethan Waller, 2 Isaac Miller, 3 Nick Schonert, 4 Graham Kitchener, 5 Justin Clegg, 6 Ted Hill (C), 7 Matt Kvesic, 8 Cornell du Preez.
Replacements | 16 Beck Cutting, 17 Marc Thomas, 18 Richard Palframan, 19 Andrew Kitchener, 20 GJ van Velze, 21 Michael Heaney, 22 Fin Smith, 23 Oli Morris.
Unavailable | Anton Bresler, Conor Carey, Matt Cox, Tom Dodd, Noah Heward, Lewis Holsey, Francois Hougaard, Sam Lewis, Matt Moulds, Melani Nanai, Billy Searle, Duncan Weir, Matti Williams. International duty | Ollie Lawrence.