Hill praise for never-say-die attitude

Head Coach Richard Hill praised the never-say-die attitude of his Worcester Warriors as they produced a sensational second half comeback to stun Cornish Pirates and claim a tense and action-packed 33-30 bonus point win in Cornwall.

Hill admitted his team were their own worst enemy in the closing stages of the first half as clinical Pirates team cut them three times to take a commanding 25-7 lead.

However, the Warriors rose magnificently to the challenge in the second period to secure the most dramatic of victories and earn praise from Hill for the manner in which they fought back and blew away the cobwebs of not playing for three weeks.

“If we are going to face the challenge of going up to the Premiership we are going to have to knock off each challenge as it comes – this was the biggest one we have had this season,” he said.

“The players were determined and Neil Best and Kai Horstmann said words at half-time. They said it was non-negotiable, this was not a case of can we come back but we will come back. That is a superb attitude to have.

“The first 15 minutes I was delighted as we controlled the game,” he added. “We told the players to keep the ball and starve the Pirates to take the sting out of them. We did just that.

“We had chances we didn’t take. We had a couple of five-metre scrums, Miles Benjamin broke up the left wing with Rob Higgitt but we lost that one. Marcel Garvey had a chance in the right hand corner and Andy Goode missed a penalty kick.

“We had all the pressure in the first 15 minutes and deserved to get a score as we were all over them, but we didn’t.

“The difference with the rest of the first half was that the Pirates used the wind well and were very clinical. We started to kick the ball back to them which was silly – they counter attacked and put us under pressure.

“I was screaming at the team to keep the ball in hand, when we did that we looked dangerous. But we didn’t do that and you have to say the Cornish Pirates were exceptionally clinical.

“Suddenly the score went from 7-0 up to 25-7 behind at half-time. But we got them in the dressing room and picked the bones out of it.

“We used the wind second half very well, Jonny Arr and Andy Goode kicked well and we played in their half. We got our lineout and drive working and really sucked the life out them.

“It looked like we had the game in the bag with two minutes to go when they scored again. It was another great try.

“But the composure the team showed to come back and score again, to have the confidence to do that and play rugby and keep the ball through multi-phases and be patient, speaks volumes for the players.”

Hill also had a message for the Worcester supporters who travelled in huge numbers to Cornwall for their unwavering support during a topsy-turvy encounter.

“Thank you for sticking with us – I’m sorry we put you through the mill like that,” he smiled. “It was certainly some entertainment for Sky TV. I imagine it kept people watching at home too.

“I think that result would have hurt Pirates. At half-time they would have thought the game was won a 25-7. Maybe first half we were rusty, but the second half the wheels started to turn and we played a bit more like Worcester can.

“I was a little concerned about this game because, while Cornish Pirates have been playing in the British & Irish Cup and have been battled hardened, we have taken the players out for three weeks. We were going to be ring rusty for the greater good later on in the season and that will pay dividends in March.

“If we had been really match sharp and the Pirates had run us that close I would be more concerned ahead of the play offs,” he added. “But we haven’t played any rugby for three weeks. To come down here and do that is encouraging.

“Early in the season we would have definitely crumbled. The confidence is high and the players really feel they can do it and come back from any situation.”