Head Coach Richard Hill admitted he was happy with the result – if not the performance – as Worcester Warriors claimed a tense 23-16 win over Sale Sharks at Sixways.
A superb solo try from David Lemi and second half score from Andy Goode saw Warriors open up a lead in the Aviva Premiership clash.
But Warriors were forced to dig deep in defence to repel a fired-up Sale side and only a last gasp try saving tackle from Paul Hodgson in injury time preserved the victory.
“I think we looked rusty and that is always a problem if you come off the back of two easy Amlin Challenge Cup wins where you are not really tested,” admitted Hill.
“Sale had games against Cardiff and Montpellier so they were more battle hardened. We were rusty with our work at the lineout and various pieces of accuracy and game management.
“In the two games in Europe we have run everything, we haven’t had to worry about kicking and some of our game management needed to be looked at.
We played a lot of rugby in our own half and caused a lot of problems for ourselves. But we showed spirit. We weren’t at our best by any means and we just had enough to hold Sale off.
“The lineout didn’t function. I know it was windy, but it was not good enough,” he added.
“We set up one maul on the far side of the pitch, I was watching that, and then suddenly one of their players is running up our touchline.
“That led to their second try and how that occurred I don’t know. It was our lineout and we set the maul up, then one of their players comes out with it.
“That is poor accuracy and it was only a fantastic piece of play by David Lemi that saw us turn around 16-8 up at half-time. We were lucky to go in with that.
“We managed to conjure up another try in the second half to save us and hung in at the end.
“It was a massive game for Sale. We all know they had to win this one. They are starring down the barrel at 0-7 and this was such a massive game for them.
“They threw everything at us and played some great rugby. We just had enough.”
Worcester next face a trip to Sandy Park to face Exeter Chiefs on Saturday week and Hill admitted he would again need to look at the make-up of his pack after former Sale pair Dean Schofield and Chris Jones both impressed off the bench.
He added: “I thought when Dean Schofield and Chris Jones came on we looked a bit more lively – they made a difference.
“I think both had a point to prove. They have been brilliant all week. They knew early on that they wouldn’t be starting, both responded in the right way with training and they were desperate to come on.
“I’ve got to go and look at the selection again. One or two things worked with selection and one or two didn’t. Everyone is working hard, but it is about getting the balance. Tonight I don’t think we got it quite right.
“In the two games in Europe we have run everything, we haven’t had to worry about kicking and some of our game management needed to be looked at…"