Head Coach Richard Hill admitted that Stade Francais had been ‘outstanding’ as they defeated his Warriors 33-10 in the Amlin Challenge Cup – but praised the spirit shown by Worcester as they dug deep in the second half.
A stunning first half show from the hosts in the French capital saw full back Paul Warwick, Italian international Number Eight Sergio Parisse and Morgan Turinui cross as Stade opened up a 21-3 lead.
Fly half Andy Goode grabbed a try to spark hopes of a fight-back but further scores from Paul Sackey and Byron Kelleher ended Worcester’s involvement in the competition this season.
Hill conceded that Stade had fully deserved the victory, but was still eager to focus on the positives for Warriors as they almost won the second half on the scoreboard before Kelleher’s late try.
He said: “They were outstanding – you can’t take that away from Stade Francais. That is a top quality international team and they were superb, you couldn’t really touch them.
“But we said at half-time that you can make teams look better than they are and we were a little bit responsible for doing that.
“A few players had a few weeks off and the game against Parma last week was a bit easy, suddenly you are hit by Stade Francais with all their internationals and they really played.
“I don’t think we were at the races in the first 40 minutes, but in the second half the aim was to win that half if not the game. I thought the second half was a really spirited performance.
“These last two weeks and the next two weeks we are working on our attack and, for me, we produced some of our best attack in that second half. Everyone played their part and we scored a great try and could have had a couple more.
“I was heartened by that and the dressing room, while disappointed to have lost that game, still has a bit of excitement as they know they had made a bit of progress with the attacking game.
“We lost the second half 12-7, but it was a much closer affair and all the replacements that came on played well.”
Hill also saluted his young Warriors who came off the bench to make an impression in the final quarter.
“Young James Currie was up against Rodrigo Roncero and held him like a rock,” he added. “You also had George Porter on the other side. Some of those boys really stepped up.
“I was a little bit concerned in the last 20 minutes about putting some of those younger lads on, but to their credit they were fantastic.
“Ollie Frost at ten was up against Byron Kelleher, an All Black international. They took Julien Dupuy, a French international off, and put Kelleher on, but Ollie Frost looked like the international player. I’m delighted with the performance – if not the result.”
“These last two weeks and the next two weeks we are working on our attack and, for me, we produced some of our best attack in that second half. Everyone played their part and we scored a great try and could have had a couple more…"