Andrew Stanley takes his young Warriors A team to Leicester on Monday, knowing that the game will reveal just how far their emerging talent has developed.
Tigers lead the Guinness A League Northern Conference table, and Stan has told his players that Welford Road is the best place to go to find out how they stand up to a big occasion, and a crowd to match.
A 20-21 defeat at the hands of Sale Jets – in front of a record 1,203 Sixways Monday night crowd, at the start of the week – left the home dressing room disappointed.
But Warriors have played A League games in front of 6,000 and 9,000 at Tigers in the past two years, so the match will provide a sharp learning curve.
“It will be an environment that most of them won’t have faced before,” says Stan. “It will show how far some of our players have come this season.
“We had chances to win against Sale and didn’t take them. We missed opportunities to gain attacking field position and crucial turnovers cost us dear.
“It has given us something to work on for Leicester. They can go there and give a good account of themselves and put a good performance in.”
The Warriors U19 Academy players warmed up for the Welford Road clash by meeting England’s U19 squad in a behind-closed-doors conditioning match at Sixways on Wednesday.
“It was a positive test for the lads,” says Academy assistant manager Gary Meechan. “It was an endorsement of what we’re doing at Sixways that England want to come and play us.
“We’re also in the process of arranging a full-blown match against Wales U19 at Sixway, in December, as part of their build-up to the Six Nations.”
Warriors lie in third place in the Northern Conference, one point ahead of Northampton Wanderers but, following Monday night’s near-miss, eight points behind second-placed Sale Jets, who are four further points behind undefeated Leicester.
The A team is back in action at Sixways on Monday, December 4 (7.30pm), when Newcastle are the visitors, while the Academy side faces Bath at home on Monday, December 11 (also 7.30pm).