Team know size of challenge – Boss

Richard Hill firmly believes several close encounters have made his Warriors understand just how hard the RFU Championship season will be – insisting the new league format has only increased the size of the task his squad face.

Warriors are unbeaten after five league games, but have had to battle back from behind in the closing stages of games with Plymouth Albion, Rotherham Titans and Doncaster Knights.

Head Coach Hill has warned his side they must not ease up against any side after Knights took full advantage last weekend at Sixways.

And he revealed how he believes the new play-off system has given every team in the league a boost and ensured the race for promotion never gets any easier.

“What we can’t do is ease up in any game, if the opposition is there for the taking we have got to continue with it,” he said.

“The game with Doncaster was a direct follow on from Esher. In the second half against Esher we clicked and there was a danger the squad thought it would just happen every week.

“The worst thing that could have happened, in that respect, is that we hit a purple patch in the first 20 minutes against Doncaster.

“It confirmed – wrongly I might add – that it was just going to happen every week. We relaxed and allowed Doncaster back into it. Like Rotherham, they would not let go.

“Gradually the players understand that this is not an easy league,” he added. “Even when teams were not quite so competitive a few years ago, when Northampton were where we are, that was the case.

“I spoke to the Northampton coaches at our recent A League game – Dorian West, Paul Grayson and Jim Mallinder – and they asked how we were finding it because they found it a real battle. Everybody wanted to beat them and raised their game at Franklin’s Gardens.

“After five games teams would normally realise they are not going to win the league, motivation levels drop. Previously only one team went up and they finished top.

“But now, with this new format, even if they finish eighth there is a still an opportunity they can be promoted to the Premiership.

“This league format has made every team try as hard as they can every single week, they will not stop. That prize at the end of it, and the new play-off system, means every team will feel it can be promoted.”