Hill orders team to take responsibility

Boss Richard Hill warned his Worcester Warriors to cut out the poor decisions and start taking responsibility as two tries in the final 20 minutes saw league leaders Harlequins steal victory at Sixways.

Worcester looked on course to record a second league victory of the Aviva Premiership campaign as Andy Goode kicked them into a 15-3 lead on home soil after an hour.

But a thrilling final quarter saw Sam Smith and a penalty try seven minutes from time allow Quins to take the win and leave Head Coach Hill in no mood to mix his words.

“Quins did well to dig themselves out of that – but at 15-3 they should have no to right to do that,” he said.

“Credit to them, but they are probably as surprised as I am that they managed to do that. At home, with that margin, you have got to win those games.

“We went to sleep on one occasion and they scored a try under the posts out of nothing. We had started the second half reasonably well and that was a soft score from first phase, it should never have happened and that gives them real confidence to comeback.

“With Tevita (Taumoepeau) coming off then, in the scrum, we were under pressure and the momentum went with them.

“There was a lot that went wrong before that,” he added. “It was a poor game and neither team can be particularly happy with their performance.

“The first half was littered with unforced errors. I counted that we made eight in the first 17 minutes, forward passes and missed kicks to touch and lost ball in the tackle.

“It was tremendous defence by us to keep them out and to as low a score as we did, but we were giving the ball to them. It was almost like we gave it to them and just practiced our defence. You can’t do that every single week and defend like that.”

Hill pinpointed a lack of ball retention and phase play – plus faltering lineout – as issues for his team and told his players in no uncertain terms of what he expects when they next take to the field.

“We are not going through the phases that we should do and making very silly decisions in attack,” he said.

“We practice a lot on our attack and our shape, but unless you put three phases together, and that is the bare minimum, you just won’t score any tries. Unfortunately we are making some very poor decisions when we have got the ball.

“The fact we didn’t score a try again is a concern. We had attacking lineouts and lost them which is unusual for us.

“We were dominant in the scrum in the first half and we kicked to the corners. You then expect to win your lineout and mount some pressure. But if you lose the ball straight away then it negates the advantage you had in the scrum. We were dominant but it makes no difference if your lineout is not functioning.

“There were only two occasions when we even looked like holding onto the ball,” he added. “We kept it for five phases and got a penalty and then for four and got a penalty. It is not rocket science. You have got to keep hold of the ball and put pressure on the opposition.

“What Quins did to us in the second half was keep the ball for several phases for over a minute, it saps your energy and strength and eventually you find a little hole.

“We have got to have a serious think about what we are doing with it and who is making those errors. If we go on like that we are not going to be scoring points. As good as our defence is, and as tight as we are making some games, we are not going to be scoring enough points at the other end.

“You have got to win your attacking lineouts and once you have got it you hold onto it – it is a very simple game.

“I have got to find a way to do that and maybe adjust our game to do that to make it simple. Individuals have got to take responsibility and hold onto the ball.

“The players needed a dressing down at the end on the pitch. That was clearly a game that we had won, although neither side played well. There is no point spending hours on the training park going through patterns of attack if people do not keep the ball for two or three phases.

“Some serious thinking needs to go on. We have got to address it very quickly or else we are not going to win a game. We have got to hold onto the ball – it is a very clear message.”