Warriors to take ‘heavy artillery’ north

Boss Richard Hill has vowed to take his ‘heavy artillery’ into battle in the frozen north against Doncaster Knights – insisting the wintry weather conditions have not been an issue during preparations.

Worcester will make the trip to Castle Park this Saturday in the RFU Championship (kick-off 2.30pm) with Hill ready to call upon his big guns in the pack.

Head Coach Hill has had his squad out in the snow this week as they prepare for the difficult clash after the Knights pushed Warriors all the way before a last gasp Andy Goode penalty secured a narrow 30-28 win in September.

The Sixways chief is predicating another forward battle in South Yorkshire after the victory over Rotherham Titans just a few weeks ago.

“We have picked all the heavy artillery to go to Doncaster and it won’t be far different from the team we took up to Rotherham,” said Hill.

“Tevita Taumoepeau will start to add to that scrummaging pack and the likelihood is that we will bring Neil Best back into the team. We may well start with Dale Rasmussen in the centre.

“I think it will be a forward orientated game initially. The Doncaster pack is efficient and they do pride themselves on the scrum where they have given other sides difficulty. We will go for a heavy pack and good scrummaging pack for this game.

“The pitch is nice and wide so we would expect to play more rugby in the backs than we did against Rotherham, but it will be about establishing firm control up front first.

“They desperately want to play us in the cold north. We are happy with that, we are prepared for it.

“We have no thoughts or talk about the game being off. We are positive and we are doing exactly what we would do in preparation for the game. Nothing has changed and we have picked a strong side and want the game to go ahead.”

Hill warned his team after the manner of victory over Esher that they would face the elements in the run-up to the trip to Doncaster.

However, while the players had faced sessions in the snow on Tuesday, the performance on review had plenty of positives to build upon.

“I was pleased we had a drop of snow – it made it even more pleasant for me to watch,” joked Hill.

“We have got to get out there and, to be fair to the players, they have been very enthusiastic and there have been no grumbles.

“Like most, I was frustrated after the game with Esher. But having watched the video back there were a lot of good things.

“Yes, our finishing wasn’t good. But as a group, we have looked at the basics and fundamentals and our scrum was good, lineout was good, we competed on opposition lineout and our restarts and driving play was good.

“We had an excellent low tackle focus, which is something we worked on during the week, and we put lots of phases of continuity together, but we lacked that little bit of finishing. If it is just finishing that needs sorting then that is not so bad.

“The last two weeks have been a good lesson to us,” he added. “At Rotherham the players were delighted because they did exactly what they did in training and we had a good win. The opposition weren’t even in the game.

“The following week we came away from what we had done in the week and they have all seen the results. It has become crystal clear to everyone that if we do what we do in training we can be a very good side. If we come away from it, we make life difficult for ourselves.”