Cox – I’m going to need a gumshield!

Warriors’ Matt Cox is expecting a stern test from a huge La Rochelle side this Saturday in the European Challenge Cup at Sixways (kick-off 3pm).

The all-action back-row is known for his big-hitting but this weekend’s French opposition have some mammoth players in their ranks.

And Cox knows they will be a tough nut to crack.

He said: “I might need a couple of protein shakes and a gumshield! They are a huge bunch with some guys well over 120kg.

“But hopefully we’ll be able to move them around a bit and we’ll be looking to open our account with a win.”

Cox is among the Premiership’s top tacklers with 39 in just four games – three of which he came off the bench late on.

And he believes his success as a tackler is down to his work rate.

He continued: “I made about 19 tackles in 30 minutes during the Gloucester game. I’m just always trying to put my body on the line.

“We have a tally chart at Warriors and I’m one off Darren Barry at the top. Your score is how many consecutive tackles you make but if you miss one you go back down to one.

“I haven’t missed one yet this year so hopefully I can keep going and at least get past 50.”

Cox played a full 80 minutes in last weekend’s Aviva Premiership win over Newcastle Falcons playing at blindside flanker, but the versatile back-row revealed he doesn’t mind where he plays, as long he’s out on the field.

He explained: “It was good to get a start and 80 minutes under my belt. I enjoy playing at six or seven but anything that keeps me on the pitch suits me and this Saturday I’m looking forward to playing at eight.”

And with this weekend’s French opponents, Cox insists it’s a chance for some of the squad’s fringe players to make themselves heard.

He added: “We’re mid-table and this little break for Europe allows us to compete for places in the team and hopefully that will enable us to push on.

“There is a big competitive atmosphere at this Club. There are boys that think they should be and want to be involved, so standards are always being driven.

“Saturday will be a chance for everyone to show what they’ve got.”