Update: 5:05PM WORCESTER Warriors director of rugby Dean Ryan says his side are "fired up" ahead of their Aviva Premiership opener against reigning champions Leicester Tigers at Welford Road on Sunday.
After a gruelling 12-week long pre-season, which has seen a new coaching team get to work, Warriors will finally begin their fight to retain top-flight status for a third successive season.
Ryan has made it clear it will not be an easy campaign as he described his new-look squad as "one of the weakest" in the league.
But he insisted his side, who will include five summer signings, are up for the battle and are ready to take on a Leicester outfit who Ryan said will be fully expected to beat Warriors.
"One of the major reasons I came back is that I love competing," Ryan said. "Just because someone tell us we can't do something, sport is littered with reasons why we can.
"We have got to be at our best and they have got to take us for granted. I understand that but it happens all the time and it has happened to them for the last two years running, so there is no reason why it can't happen again.
"It is difficult to prepare a British & Irish Lions group and an international group week in week out with the pressure of winning and you come up against a side you are expected to win against. You can lose five per cent of being in the right place and we gain ten per cent because we are fired up about being at Welford Road then were have got a chance."
Captain Jonathan Thomas, Ignacio Mieres, Jeremy Sua, Mike Williams and Jeremy Becasseau will all start at Welford Road as they make their competitive debuts for the club.
There is also a return to action for centre Ravai Fatiaki, who missed much of last season through injury. He will be partnered in midfield by fellow Fijian Josh Matavesi, with David Lemi, Josh Drauniniu and Chris Pennell completing the backline.
John Andress lines-up alongside Ed Shervington and Jeremy Becasseau in the front row with Dean Schofield partnering Mike Williams at lock, while Sam Betty and Semisi Taulava complete the back row.
Ryan said is confident of what to expect from Leicester and he believed the changes to the scrum laws over the summer, which have been heavily criticised by Tigers boss Richard Cockerill, could also work in Worcester's favour.
"I dont think Leicester Tigers have changed for the past 20 years - they will have a big drive and it will be interesting to see how they adapt their scrum," Ryan said.
"I dont think Dan Cole has sat comfortably with the changes and I know Richard Cockerill is not happy about it. So in an area where they have had huge dominance they will be new to it like everyone else.
He added: "We know the challenge of Welford Road but it doesnt get any better than starting there, so I think everyone is genuinely excited about what we have done over the last two or three months and what this new group look like."
Warriors' side to face Leicester Tigers: Pennell, Drauniniu, Fatiaki, Matavesi, Lemi, Mieres, Sua, Becasseau, Shervington, Andress, Williams, Schofield, Thomas (C), Betty, Taulava
Replacements: Seymour, Andrew, ODonnell, Jones, Abbott, Hodgson, Gray, Clarke