Horstmann returns for season opener

Back row star Kai Horstmann makes his comeback for Worcester Warriors as they open the 2007/08 Guinness Premiership campaign at The Rec against Bath Rugby on Saturday (kick-off 2.15pm)

Horstmann has been out of action since summer surgery on his left shoulder but the powerful Number Eight has now proven his fitness and been included in the starting line-up as Mike Ruddock prepares for his first top-flight match in charge.

Ruddock has kept faith with the side that has impressed in pre-season and names young stars Tom Wood and Chris Pennell – both products of the club’s thriving Academy set-up – in the starting XV.

Skipper Pat Sanderson and Shane Drahm also return after sitting out the pre-season warm-up match with London Irish while fly half James Brown is named on the bench after recovering from a hip injury.

“It’s always going to be difficult at The Rec and a challenge – Bath have impressed in pre-season. But we back ourselves, believe in ourselves and will go down there to get a result,” said Director of Rugby Ruddock.

“Pre-season preparations have gone well and the squad’s fitness level has improved, there is a real buzz in the camp and hopefully we can perform well enough to get a result.

“In any sport it is all about confidence and rugby is no different, you can’t underestimate the importance of a good start and if we can hit the ground running that would be fantastic.”

Warriors line-up v Bath Rugby

15 Chris Pennell
14 Thinus Delport
13 Dale Rasmussen
12 Gary Trueman
11 Marcel Garvey
10 Shane Drahm
9 Matt Powell

1 Tony Windo
2 Chris Fortey
3 Tevita Taumoepeau
4 Phil Murphy
5 Craig Gillies
6 Tom Wood
7 Pat Sanderson (c)
8 Kai Horstmann

16 Darren Morris
17 Ben Gotting
18 Will Bowley
19 Gavin Quinnell
20 Ryan Powell
21 James Brown
22 Mark Tucker