Boss – Team focused on Sale battle

Mike Ruddock has backed his Worcester Warriors to put aside any off field issues this week and return to Guinness Premiership action with a ‘big performance’ on Saturday against Sale Sharks.

Warriors face Sale Sharks for the first league game in 2009 at Sixways Stadium (kick-off 3pm).

Ruddock insists the news that Clive Griffiths has left the club has not been a distraction to his team and he expects an impressive show come game time.

“I’m sorry to see my friend Clive Griffiths leave the club, but I have got to respect his wishes and we have tried to put that to one side and we have prepared really well this week,” he said.

“Last week went well in terms of our preparation and with the rugby on show. I know that Clive will be missed but we understand his reasons for stepping down.

“The move has been more process driven than any rugby issues. The way I want us to go forward is with a lot of empowerment and involving people and feedback. From a personal point of view it is sad to see him go and he is a fantastic coach.

“But the players accept this and get on with the job. Everyone has refocused really quickly and our preparation this week has been fantastic. There is plenty of energy; the feedback has been top drawer.”

Ruddock knows Worcester must buck the trend this weekend with the away team having won the last six games between the two sides.

“We’re excited to play against Sale and very aware of the fact we tend to win at their home and they win here. We want to put that record straight and get a win,” he said.

“We are pleased with our progress in Europe, we played some good rugby against Petrarca and our width, tempo and intent was really good. But we were disappointed with the defence and we have worked on that.

“Sale will be stronger when we played then up north. They will be hurting because we beat them at home and that have some good players.

“It is a good test but the preparation work this week has been as good as anything I can remember so I really am expecting a big performance. We’re keen about getting back into Guinness Premiership action.”