Ruddock eager for home win

Mike Ruddock has challenged his Warriors to step up a level and finally give their Guinness Premiership season lift-off with victory over Sale Sharks.

Warriors face a Sale team packed full of international stars – including New Zealand new boy Luke McAlister – in front of a packed Sixways crowd and the watching rugby world on television on Friday night (8pm kick-off).

Director of Rugby Ruddock admits his team is full of confidence going into the game after a hat-trick of recent cup victories.

But he has warned against complacency against the Sharks and knows his side will need to raise the bar to record a home victory.

“It has been good to pick up three wins in a row, but there is still room for improvement,” he said.

“We conceded three tries against Montauban and we need to improve our defence if we are serious about winning against Sale.

“They’re all crunch games in the league, but Sale are a bit like a who’s who of rugby in terms of the Guinness Premiership.

“We are still not at the levels we want to be, but if we can take the next step and get a result I think the squad can really take off and move forward. We are not far away, but we will need to take a step up to beat Sale.”

Ruddock is set to hand new signing Greg Rawlinson his home debut tonight with the giant New Zealand international lock on the replacements bench.

“Greg has had a break from playing, so conditioning-wise he is not quite ready to start and play 80 minutes at this intensity in such an important game,” added Ruddock.

“Both Craig Gillies and Phil Murphy played very well against Montauban and, as good a player as Greg is, he will still have to fight for his place.”