Coach pride as league champions toppled

Head Coach Richard Hill was full of praise for his Worcester Warriors as they powered back to stun league champions Saracens 16-11 at Sixways on Friday night.

The Londoners raced into a 8-0 lead at the home of the Warriors after a stunning opening period of free running rugby.

But a try from Alex Grove, on the week he signed a new deal at Warriors, saw momentum swing and a brilliant defensive effort saw Worcester claim a big Aviva Premiership scalp.

“It’s difficult to quantify how big that result is,” said Hill. “After putting in such huge effort at Sale and Harlequins away and getting those bonus points, this was a crucial game to capitalise.

“When you look at our record over the last five games, we have won three and have got two losing bonus points. On current form that would put us as one of the top teams.

“I am pleased that we have got some consistent performances put together. That will do a massive amount of good for this club, once and for all we can stop looking over our shoulder and we can concentrate on moving up that table.

“Alex took his try really well from a charge down,” he added. “That try gave us a real lift before the break. We had been on the rack quite a bit in the first half so to get that try was crucial. There was a good feeling in the dressing room.

“After that our defence was spot on. If teams are 20 metres from our line I am confident we can hold them – our defence has been superb. It gets more worrying when they are two metres from our line.

“We all have confidence in our defence and each man watches his role, protects his shoulder and keep tackling and tackling.”

Saracens had produced a thrilling opening to the game as they looked to bounce back from defeat to Leicester Tigers on Sunday and roared into the lead in front of the television cameras.

But Hill was proud of the manner in which his team refused to buckle and powered back to claim the big win.

He said: “You have to say that Saracens were scintillating and played some superb rugby in the opening 25 minutes.

“I was sat on my chair and thought it was going to be a long night. They were on top form and played at pace, offloaded and moved us around the field. We were hanging in there and they could have scored a couple more tries.

“The thought we always had in the back our mind was that they had a short turnaround than us. It is hard enough turning around Saturday to Friday, let alone Sunday and then having to come here.

“We felt they might run out of steam and in the second half they didn’t play at the same pace. They started to kick the ball more which played into our hands. They still posed problems but not as many as in the first 25 minutes.”

Hill also smiled off an unusual end to the game as scrum half Shaun Perry kicked off the field, with 26 seconds left and Warriors in possession, to hand Saracens a final attack before Craig Gillies stole lineout ball back.

“I said to Pezza he was going to see me in the office after the game,” laughed Hill. “I think Andy Goode won the turnover on our line and Saracens were pressing. For that to happen, he must have thought time was up.

“It meant we had to defend again and win another turnover on our line, fortunately it was zero by then.

“It was a big moment for Craig. He was one of the top lineout stealers for many years and that was his moment. It was fantastic for him and crucial that he nicked that ball at the death.”

“When you look at our record over the last five games, we have won three and have got two losing bonus points. On current form that would put us as one of the top teams…"