WORCESTER Warriors are set to welcome back their star men for Friday's European Challenge Cup showdown with Dragons at Rodney Parade (8pm).

Fly-half Duncan Weir, scrum-half Francois Hougaard and prop Nick Schonert are all likely to return as Warriors aim to overtake the Welsh region at the top of Pool One.

Worcester kept their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals alive with a 34-28 victory over Dragons at Sixways last Saturday.

But a late Luke Baldwin try ensured the Newport club remain in pole position, one point ahead of Warriors with three matches to go.

Director of rugby Alan Solomons rested most of his key players last weekend following their Gallagher Premiership exertions.

But with the group in the balance Solomons believes this crunch clash is “exactly what we need” ahead of their league encounter at Gloucester seven days later.


“It will be a very tough game,” Solomons said.

“I have been to Rodney Parade quite a lot and it’s never been an easy venue.

"But it’s exactly what we need leading into the next Premiership block.

“It’s an excellent game to have.

“We have been able over this period to rotate players and give everybody an opportunity to play.

“Now we have got a very strong game going into the Premiership, like Castres was going into the Sale match.

"I think that’s always beneficial.”

Full-back Chris Pennell is expected to overcome a blow to the head to face Dragons who are managed by former Warriors boss Dean Ryan.

Wing Perry Humphreys is also set to recover from an ankle injury to start against the Pro14 club with Tom Howe back in the fold after attending his brother’s wedding.

But centre Ollie Lawrence (ankle) has been ruled out, meaning fly-half Jono Lance may provide midfield cover with Ryan Mills and Ashley Beck likely to combine.

“It’s a pretty close pool and this is a big game as our last two matches are at home,” Solomons said.

“I think the important thing is our performance.

“Our discipline has got to be better as far as penalties are concerned but we have got to look after the ball.”