Ruddock excited by "massive" Sharks test

Mike Ruddock believes the ‘massive challenge’ his team face when they tackle star-studded Sale Sharks can galvanise his troops to secure a crucial victory.

Warriors travel to Sale Sharks on Friday night (kick-off 7.45pm) in the Guinness Premiership to face a side who welcome back England heroes Richard Wigglesworth and Andrew Sheridan plus Scotland international Rory Lamont and French prop Lionel Faure.

Director of Rugby Ruddock knows his side face a huge test at Edgeley Park as they look to repeat the famous win they secured last season.

But he believes being written off before the game will only bring his side closer together and give them renewed purpose ahead of the big kick-off.

“We are looking forward to the Sale challenge and the fact they are at full strength,” he said.

“We need a massive challenge to galvanise us and give us a real sense of purpose and urgency. It gives us something that people think is beyond us.

“We go there as underdogs and written off before we start. We can excel at that dogfight and play like champions.

“The next four games are very big and this is the real business end of the season.

“We’d like to be further up the table and overturn some of these narrow defeats.

“But we are examining the environment around the club to make sure it is spot on so we go into the run in the best possible position to get the results we need.”

Warriors go into the game on the back of a heartbreaking single point defeat to London Irish in the last league clash.

However, Ruddock insists his team should take the positives from that Sixways encounter and look to move on.

“The fact that we scored the only try of the game against London Irish but still lost the game was a real blow,” he said.

“But we have got to see the positives even though it was an opportunity missed. We improved as a team, from the defeat at Harlequins, and we were unlucky not to get the result on the night.

“There’s always pressure whether you are trying to get into Europe or playing in a dogfight like we are. But if we just concentrate on the pressure, then that means we will get anxious and we will go out and play poorly.

“That is not what we want we want to go out and play some good rugby. At times, I thought there was some excellent rugby played by us on Friday night and we want to build on that.”