Ryan – Next week is a straight shootout

Warriors Director of Rugby Dean Ryan insists next week’s all-important Greene King IPA Championship play-off final second leg against Bristol is evenly poised.

Despite his side grabbing a try in the last play of the game at Ashton Gate on Wednesday night, the Warriors boss believes the one-point advantage counts for nothing – other than acting as a confidence booster.

He said: “The result doesn't actually mean anything till next week. It’s on level terms effectively.

“I’m pleased that we’ve got a bit of a psychological lift by the nature of winning it at the end because they’ve beaten us in two tight games.

“But it’s going to be a straight shootout and whoever wins next week will be in the Premiership.”

Warriors and Bristol battled out a frantic game with eight tries, including six in the first-half and Ryan believes his side showed huge courage. 

He added: “It was a great advert for the Championship and from these two teams.

“We showed tremendous courage to weather some pressure in the second-half. Gavin Henson was kicking the ball a mile and we had two set-pieces to get us back to where he kicked it from which was tough.

“When you’re in that level of competition you have to stand firm and see it out – which is what we did for large periods in the second-half.”

Warriors have been dealt several blows in the play-offs with senior players such as Jonny Arr, Charlie Mulchrone, Max Stelling and Andy Symons ruled out of action.

But Ryan praised those who have stepped in and done a job for their team.

He explained: “The Club is outstanding. People have been asked to come in and they’ve done well like JB Bruzulier and then Ben Howard at the end.

“We’ve got a great group and they don’t surprise me as I know what they are like and they work hard for each other.”