Worcester Warriors boss Mike Ruddock could not hide his frustration after his side lost to basement boys Bristol and the relegation dog-fight in the Guinness Premiership continued.
Warriors crashed to a disappointing 37-18 defeat at the Memorial Stadium as the lead over Bristol at the foot of the table was slashed to nine points.
Director of Rugby Ruddock was left to bemoan a poor start from his side as they slipped 17-0 behind after less than half an hour.
Warriors showed character to fight-back to 17-15 but another three try burst from the hosts completed a poor afternoon for Ruddock’s men.
“It was a very bad start from us. We knew Bristol were going to throw everything at us and they came out of the blocks extremely well, but that is no excuse for the amount of tries we leaked early doors,” said Ruddock.
“We left ourselves a mountain to climb but scored a great try just before half-time and then straight after through Kai Horstmann. At 17-15 we looked in control, looked confident and as though we were going to go on and win the game.
“We had noticed that Bristol had faded off in the second half of games and I fully expected us to go on and win and nail it.
“The fact that we didn’t is a cause for concern and a big worry for us, particularly when you look back at last week when we beat Gloucester who have just gone onto the EDF Energy Cup final and are one of the best teams in Europe.
“The following week we don’t turn up for long periods and make schoolboy errors. It is frustrating to say the least.”
Warriors now face Harlequins and Saracens this week and Ruddock admits the current league position is a worry.
“We dropped our heads last ten or 15 minutes. Full marks to Bristol, but I felt we were going to go on and win it and then they scored and we dropped off,” he added.
“I have got to try and pick the guys up while letting them know how unacceptable that performance is.
“We have a couple of difficult weeks ahead, ultimately everything is still in our hands but we have got to play better than that and we know it.
“The first try was a missed tackle by Matthew Jones, people get bumped off and then a bit of footwork and he is in.
“I will have to have a look at all the tries but they caught us with a sneaky one at the front of the lineout.
“We just have to dust ourselves down and go again, it is in our hands and we must focus on the rest of the season.”
Warriors injury worries were again heightened as Rico Gear and James Collins were both forced out before kick-off and Matt Cox was also a casualty of defeat.
“There is no doubt that injuries are hurting us. That was typified by Matt Cox who went on at the end and dislocated his shoulder at the first ruck with ten minutes to go,” revealed Ruddock.
“With Chris Latham out and Rico Gear dropping out before the game, plus a quality player like Sam Tuitupou being ruled out, the run-in is suddenly looking more difficult.
“At 17-15 we had showed plenty of character and had scored two and had one ruled out for blocking, that could have made a big difference.
“At that point I wouldn’t have thought there was a question mark over our character as we had come back well. But obviously Bristol played well and they got stronger while we fell off tackles, we are disappointed with that last 15 minutes in particular.
“We have a young squad and to lose big players is tough for us, particularly with Chris Horsman and Tevita Taumoepeau out too, that experience is being missed at the moment.”