Hill happy to secure European bonus

Head Coach Richard Hill was pleased with his Worcester Warriors as they battled to overcome both wretched weather conditions and Banca Monte Crociati to secure a 34-3 victory in the Amlin Challenge Cup in Parma.

Chris Pennell (2), Josh Drauniniu, Tom Arscott and Ben Gulliver grabbed the tries in Italy.

But the game was, for long periods, dominated by the bad weather conditions as thick fog descended on the Stadio XXV Aprile and made the fixture horrendously awkward for both teams.

“It’s difficult to comment on what happened – the fog was that bad at times,” admitted Hill.

“The players did really well considering the conditions. It certainly wasn’t easy to see on the sidelines and it can’t have been easy to catch the ball or play any type of rugby in that.

“I thought we did extremely well to keep at it and it was crucial to get the four tries as early as possibly, to get that that by half-time was exactly what was required.

“We had a bit of local knowledge, which fortunately was wrong, that suggested ten miles up the road it was a pea souper coming in, it was heading to Parma.

“The locals were very pessimistic whether the game would even start. Every couple of minutes you were looking at the clock and trying to gauge whether or not you could see the far side.

“I thought the officials were superb tonight, the Scottish officials and young referee handled it very well and made sure both captains and sets of players were happy to play.

“In the end we got a good game and we were happy with the five points. The Parma coach was happy with the second half. For 39 minutes it was 0-0 and they played well.

“An abandonment would have caused some serious headaches for us and we would have had to changes some flights.”

Worcester raced into a 27-3 half-time lead in Italy but were made to wait until the final minute for another try from lock Gulliver in what Hill admitted were often deteriorating conditions.  

“The conditions were a real leveller,” admitted Hill. “The worst conditions you have it does level it, be that strong wind, pouring rain, heavy pitches or fog.

“Plus, we had come here to get the bonus point and we were 27-3 at half-time. Naturally you are not going to go quite so hard at it as you would like to, psychologically you are going to drop off a little bit.

“They played well in the second half, but our defence was excellent and we didn’t want to concede a try which shows good character.”

Warriors now focus on the Aviva Premiership clash with Bath Rugby and Hill believes the European victory over Banca Monte Crociati had been a useful exercise.

He said: “It has been useful to have a look at some of the players who have been on the fringe of the first team and they have had a good hit out.

“They have had a good run out against Sale A and now a good run out tonight. It has been a good trip and now we can prepare thoroughly, as from Monday, for Bath.

“We get back Sunday night and Monday morning we start serious preparations for Bath at home.”