European Challenge CupVenue: Stade Amédée-Domenech Date: Saturday, 20 January Kick-off: 14:30 GMTCoverage: Live score updates on the BBC Sport websiteWorcester Warriors make seven changes as they look to earn a place in the European Challenge Cup quarter-finals.They lost top spot in Pool 5 when Connacht came back to draw at Sixways last weekend and win the group.But a Warriors victory in France would be enough for them to qualify for the knockout stages as one of the three best group runners-up,
Three changes are in the backs, with Ben Howard, centre Jackson Willison and scrum-half Michael Dowsett recalled.Howard comes in for Josh Adams at full-back, while first-choice number 15 Chris Pennell remains at centre.In the front row, up against Worcester old boy James Johnston, Ryan Bower is at loosehead prop alongside hooker Kurt Haupt, while Alafoti Faosiliva and Matt Cox return in the back row and GJ van Velze captains the side for the second consecutive game.Across the five Challenge Cup Pools, Warriors (on 15 points from five games), currently have the third best points total, bettered only by Gloucester (21) and Bordeaux-Begles (16).Warriors in EuropeWorcester have not qualified for Europe’s knockout stages since 2009, when they beat Brive in the quarter-finals before losing 22-11 to Bourgoin in the semis.Since then, Warriors have failed to qualify from their group six times, finishing 3rd (2010), 2nd (2012), 2nd (2013), 4th (2014), 4th (2016) and 3rd (2017).Warriors reached the Challenge Cup final in 2008, winning every pool game, then beating Newcastle and Montpellier before losing 24-16 to Bath at Kingsholm.Last season, they lost narrowly in both group games with Brive, 25-24 at Sixways, before being beaten 17-14 in France by Gaetan Germain’s long-range added-time penalty.Warriors head coach Carl Hogg told BBC Hereford & Worcester: “We’re still alive and kicking. Last weekend was a bit frustrating, but we’re going there with everything to play for. 2009 is the last time we made the quarter-finals and that’s a big incentive for us. “We had some very good patches last week and should have been out of sight. We had the opportunity to take it to 19-0, which would have taken a lot from coming back from, but you have to give Connacht some credit for the way they played.”Brive are a traditional French-style side with a massive pack but ultimately it’s about performing yourselves and playing as well as we can. “Last time we went there we had a young side and they only beat us in the very last minute with a penalty from the halfway line. But the fact that this time we have to win to qualify will help.”Brive: Germain; Namy, Le Bouhis, Burotu, Masilevu; Bezy, Lobzhanidze; Asieshvili, Tadjer, Johnston, Snyman, Uys, Herjean, Luafutu (capt), Koyamaibole.Replacements: Acquier, Bamba, Bekoshvili, Waqaniburotu, Narisia, Cazenave, Galala, Laranjeira.Warriors: Howard; Humphreys, Pennell, Willison, Hammond; Shillcock, Dowsett; Bower, Haupt, Kerrod, Barry, Phillips, Faosiliva, Cox, van Velze (capt).Replacements: Singleton, Milasinovich, Alo, Taylor, Williams, Baldwin, Olver, Howe.For the latest rugby union news follow @bbcrugbyunion on Twitter.
Source: Worcester News