Sanderson – Battle of breakdown key

Worcester captain Pat Sanderson urged his team-mates to focus on the derby day trip to Gloucester after a painful defeat to Northampton Saints at Sixways Stadium.

Sanderson admitted the battle of the breakdown had been crucial as Warriors suffered at the hands of Northampton in the second period.

The Sixways skipper is now keen to look ahead to the trip to Kingsholm as Warriors search for the right balance in attack.

He said: “It was a game about taking your chances. We went in three points behind at half-time and had the majority of the play. We perhaps didn’t get the returns we would have liked from the first half.

“The second half was more the story of the breakdown as we tried to play a bit more expansively. If we do that we have to get our breakdown spot on and we didn’t do that.

“Northampton are a very good side, they work hard at their breakdown work and it certainly helped them get a platform at the set piece which we failed to do.

“Our defence is good, but we had an off day and we know that. When you turn ball over against Northampton and don’t deal with kicks they have got players that can really punish you. Ben Foden is probably the best in the league at doing that.

“The way the laws are this year, attack is clearly more difficult,” he added. “We have got such talent in the back line that we want to use it. We tried that today, but it just makes the breakdown area even harder when you have got even bigger spaces between guys.

“Against a side like Northampton, who really contest the ball hard on the floor, you have got to be a match for that.

“The first game of the season we were, but we weren’t as expansive as we were today. We have got to get the balance right, we want to use these guys but at the same time we need structure to operate at breakdown time.

“Now we have to win next week at Gloucester. We know we are a good side, we are capable of beating anyone on our day, we have proved that. To go away to Gloucester is something we did last year and got points out of.

“We are lucky in the job that we have got that we don’t have to wait a year for our next chance to put things right.

“The players are hurting very, very badly right now, we put a lot into this game. We prepared for two weeks for this; we were well rested and keen to get out there. It is a bitter pill to swallow.”