Nanai to make Warriors debut at Bath

Wing Melani Nanai will make his keenly-anticipated debut for Warriors in Saturday’s Premiership Rugby Cup match against Bath Rugby at The Rec (kick-off 3.00pm).

Nanai joined Warriors after a successful season of Super Rugby with Blues as one of eight new signings made by Director of Rugby Alan Solomons for the new season.

Nanai will start for Warriors at Bath in a completely changed starting XV to the one that defeated Leicester Tigers 57-23 in last week’s season opener at Sixways.

Marco Mama will captain Warriors in his comeback appearance following his recovery from complications that followed the dead leg he suffered in the win over Gloucester in April.

Internationals Chris Pennell, Duncan Weir, Francois Hougaard and Cornell du Preez all start with Ollie Lawrence and Will Butler, who have also recovered from injuries sustained in the second half of last season, forming a new centre pairing.

Former London Scottish and London Irish tighthead prop Richard Palframan is set for his Warriors debut off the bench.

Six players who were involved in the Leicester win – Isaac Miller, Ryan Bower, Ted Hill, Michael Heaney, Jamie Shillcock and Alex Hearle – have been named as replacements along with lock Justin Clegg who is in line to make his first senior appearance in 11 months.

Warriors | 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Tom Howe, 13 Ollie Lawrence, 12 Will Butler, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Francois Hougaard, 1 Callum Black, 2 Niall Annett, 3 Nick Schonert, 4 Andrew Kitchener, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 6 Marco Mama (C), 7 Sam Lewis, 8 Cornell du Preez.

Replacements | 16 Isaac Miller, 17 Ryan Bower, 18 Richard Palframan, 19 Justin Clegg, 20 Ted Hill, 21 Michael Heaney, 22 Jamie Shillcock, 23 Alex Hearle.

Bath | 15 Tom Homer, 14 Levi Davis, 13 Max Clark, 12 Max Wright, 11 Aled Brew, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Will Chudley, 1 Beno Obano, 2 Ross Batty, 3 Christian Judge, 4 Josh McNally, 5 Charlie Ewels (C), 6 Mike Williams, 7 Josh Bayliss, 8  Zach Mercer.

Replacements | 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Lewis Boyce, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Elliott Stooke, 20 Rhys Davies, 21 Max Green, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Tom de Glanville.