Hill demands quick start from Warriors

Head Coach Richard Hill has demanded his Worcester Warriors fly out of the traps against Nottingham Rugby and always ‘wrestle the initiative’ away from the opposition during the RFU Championship play-off campaign.

The Warriors make the short trip to the East Midlands to face free-scoring Nottingham at Meadow Lane on Friday night (kick-off 7.45pm).

Hill is determined his team – that currently top Pool A on 13 points – will start the game in better fashion after both Bristol Rugby and London Welsh earned early possession.

And he also expects a response from his forwards with the pack fired-up after stinging self-criticism following the 40-23 victory over the Exiles in the last game.

“We have achieved what we have wanted with maximum points from both games – but there is still a bit to go from the team as we search for that 80-minute performance,” admitted Hill.

“The teams we have faced deserve credit. London Welsh had a strong set piece and a strong platform and when they played with the ball they kept it and went through multi-phases.

“These teams have all stepped it up a level, there is no doubt about that, and we had to raise our game in the second half against London Welsh to overcome a test.

“The slow starts, of the last two games in particular, need to be addressed. Against Bristol we defended for the first two or three minutes and the same sort of thing happened against London Welsh.

“We really have to look after that first five-minute spell and have done a lot of talking about that. We have got to wrestle the initiative from these teams early on.”

Nottingham earned a first win of the pool stages with a maximum bonus point victory over Bristol at Meadow Lane on Sunday.

And after two high scoring meetings during the regular season, Hill insists his team must know what to expect.

“They are a dangerous side and at Sixways they scored four tries against us. When we played at Meadow Lane they scored tries again so they are a very good attacking team that will score. Our target this Friday is to try and keep our line intact.

“The forwards have been stung this week,” he added. “They didn’t like the fact that London Welsh pushed us over for a penalty try in the scrum.

“London Welsh’s set piece platform is very good, but the forwards have been very harsh on themselves and I would expect to see a reaction from them.”