Mike Ruddock has praised in-form openside Jake Abbott after he was named in the starting line-up for Sunday’s Guinness Premiership clash at Newcastle Falcons (kick-off 3pm).
Academy product Abbott produced an irresistible display in the A League earlier in the week and his outstanding form has seen him deservedly force his way into senior selection.
Worcester born-and-bred ace Abbott started the Amlin Challenge Cup match against Olympus Rugby XV Madrid and followed that up with a hat-trick against Leicester Tigers.
Ruddock has been delighted with the attitude of Abbott and admits his inclusion will help load his side with breakdown specialists to face the Falcons.
“Jake really put his hand up and put his marker down for selection in the A League match against Leicester Tigers earlier in the week,” he said.
“He is a great young talent. He missed some of pre-season with a toe injury and hadn’t been able to put the pressure on the players in the senior team until this point because of that.
“I spoke to him after the Madrid game and told him, even though he did well, he was probably a match or two down on last year because he hadn’t played the pre-season games, hadn’t had enough rugby under his belt.
“He agreed with that, but worked even harder and really stepped it up a level in the ‘A’ game against Leicester.
“He was incredible effective and it wasn’t just the tries he scored, but his work-rate, tackling and ability to get to rucks, to be effective both clearing out and turning the ball over.”
Abbott’s selection will see skipper Pat Sanderson shift to Number 8 and Ruddock has no doubt that his captain will seamlessly slip to the back of the pack.
“Pat has played eight before, he played there for England, so there was no reason to stop me moving him there,” he added.