Hill – Team not feeling shootout nerves

Head Coach Richard Hill insists his Worcester Warriors are not feeling the pressure as they prepare for the massive RFU Championship semi-final shootout with Bedford Blues at Sixways Stadium on Sunday (kick-off 12.15pm).

Warriors face the biggest game of the season in a winner-takes-all clash with the Blues in a bid to try and book a place in the league final double header in May.

Hill has not looked to change the format of preparations this week, despite the enormity of the game.

And he firmly believes his squad are “in as good a place as we can be” as the countdown continues to the televised clash on Sunday lunchtime.

“This is the day we have all been looking forward to, ever since July when we first met up as a squad,” he said.

“We’re in as good a place as we can be. Physically we are good and if you speak to the players you see they are mentally in a good place. They are quietly confident and excited about the weekend.

“There are no nerves because we have done the preparation and worked very hard. They could go out on the pitch now and be ready to go.

“There is a little bit of fine tuning to be done, but we are happy that we’ve done all we can leading up to this one big game. Now it is a case of trusting the players and performing.

“I have seen no signs of nerves from anybody and that is a good sign,” he added. “If you have prepared well then there is no point getting too nervous about it, if you tighten up you don’t perform well.”

Hill has also praised the relaxed atmosphere in the Sixways camp and believes the close bond between the players will come to the fore on Sunday afternoon.

“This group performs better when it is relaxed,” he added. “They all know each other very well and have been together for many years. They are good friends and so they will play for each other. On the day I have got no doubts they will go out and want to win because, ultimately, they are with their mates.

“Sometimes as a coach you look to do something slightly ahead of a big game. Do some team building or take them out, have a great big Churchillian style speech before the game.

“But we don’t need any of that. As a coach I have sometimes done that, but they are in a good place and there is no point doing something different because the players then think ‘we are we doing this?’ Why is this game more special than any other game?

“Sunday is very important, everyone knows that, and we have got to keep them nice and relaxed. They are in a brilliant state at the moment and we have trained well. They are in good spirits.

“The 22 has been selected and announced to the team, but the rest of the group have really helped and got right behind them.”

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Tickets for the huge RFU Championship semi-final clash between Warriors and Bedford remain on sale. Call the Warriors Box Office on 01905 454183 or click HERE to buy online.