Trailing Warriors stuck to their big guns

The second-half Vicarage Road performance that transformed Warriors from a team apparently heading for its ninth Guinness Premiership defeat to one celebrating the result of the season had its roots in a calm half-time team talk and a heavy mix of self-belief and bottle.

John Brain’s men went in 14 points adrift knowing that, but for one moment of mercurial magic from Thomas Castaignede and an error that was punished in the extreme, they’d demonstrated that the Worcester game plan in the atrocious conditions was one to stick with.
The result was 40 minutes of rugby that left the director of rugby reflecting on four vital points, the dismantling of the home side’s set-piece, and the best second half he’d witnessed from his players in his five years at Sixways.
“The main difference between the halves was that we couldn’t create pressure in the first half,” he said afterwards. “We knew we had to cut out errors when we had the ball. They scored two tries in the first half, but one of those came from an error in their 22 area.
“We had an ascendancy in the lineout and we talked at half-time about building on it. That was the key. It was a very, very good performance forward, and our substitutions made a difference. We were clear about how we had to play, and we executed it pretty well.”
The additional pleasure for Brain came with the stage on which the stirring fight-back had unfurled.
“We’ve not just done it against any old team,” he said. “We’ve done it against the form home team of the Premiership. If I’d had the choice of where I wanted this win to come, this would have been it.”
Warriors’ next Premiership match is at Sixways on Friday, December 22, against London Irish – a prospect that’s made the ticket office a busy place since the Saracens win. Meanwhile, Brain won’t look at the points column in the Premiership table “until it’s of relevance”. The pitch remains his focus.
“We have seven games left at home,” he added. “If we continue playing like that, we’ll be all right and someone else will be in trouble.
“The only way we can get out of it is by getting points. The only way we can do that is by winning games. This win was significant. It’s been a difficult couple of months for everyone. I might not look it, but I’m extremely happy.”