Ruddock keen for defensive resolve

Warriors boss Mike Ruddock has urged his side to find a defensive edge when they welcome Harlequins in the EDF Energy Cup on Sunday (kick-off 3pm) – and revealed skipper Pat Sanderson could make his comeback.

Worcester must claim victory in the final pool game and hope other results go for them to progress to the semi-finals at the Ricoh Arena next year.

But Director of Rugby Ruddock is just as keen to see his team shut out the visiting Quins after conceding four tries in the last cup clash with Ospreys.

“We are looking for an improvement from Ospreys. We have done some soul searching lately and looked at the tries we have conceded at times in big games,” he said.

“We are still trying to nail down the perfect defensive performance. In Europe, against the lesser teams, we were very comfortable, but in the bigger games we have conceded.

“That is hurting us and we are trying to get those elements out of our game and that has been a big focus for us.

“We got well beaten on the scoreboard at Ospreys and 37 points against is pretty unacceptable for us. But we were only 23-19 and in contention with something like ten minutes to go. We have improved, there is no doubt about that, but we still have a way to go.

Warriors need to win the Sunday clash and hope London Irish can beat Ospreys in the other pool game to stand a chance to making the last four.

But Ruddock insists all his team should focus on is the task in hand and the challenge of Quins.

“Unfortunately we are not in control of the pool, we had that opportunity down at Swansea to do that but didn’t nail that chance down,” he said.

“It means we are now in a position where it is out of our hands and we will be looking at the London Irish game, if Ospreys win that match we have had it.

“But if they lose and we get a result here then we are back in the driving seat. All we can do is try and control our end of things and try and get a result against a very good Quins team.”

More positive news surroundings the fitness of several players with Ruddock revealing skipper Pat Sanderson could feature and make his comeback game.

“Pat is in the mix and he trained on Wednesday and took part fully in the rugby session. That is the first time he has done that since August so that is fantastic news,” added Ruddock.

“He will be very keen to play, it is whether or not medically we want him to play and if we feel he is 100 percent. We will see if he has a reaction but there is a possibility he could play this weekend.

“We still have some injuries but hopefully there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Rico Gear will be available this weekend and we are hoping that Loki Crichton, who had to drop out late against Ospreys, will be back for the game.

“Miles Benjamin is out of the game this weekend with his shoulder injury, but I am very confident he will be back for the next Guinness Premiership match.”