Now the 2017/18 campaign is over, it’s time to start getting excited about the 2018/19 season!
With that in mind, we thought we’d give you a brief overview of some of our impressive performers over the past nine months and who you can look forward to seeing on the Sixways pitch in a few months’ time…
Josh Adams – Winger/Full-back
It’s been quite the story for Josh Adams. Having begun the 2016/17 season in the Academy, he burst onto the first-team scene with 13 tries in 23 appearances during his debut season. But this year, he’s taken things a step further. The 2017/18 campaign has seen the Welshman score a whopping 17 tries in 25 games to finish as the Club’s top tryscorer yet again. That red-hot form saw him catch the eye of Warren Gatland, who quickly drafted him in to wear the red of Wales for his international debut in the NatWest 6 Nations.
In the Premiership, Adams made 1205 metres over 21 games, with an average gain of six metres. His potency in attack also saw him beat 61 defenders and make 33 breaks. He won ten turnovers while his 13 league tries saw him secure two records – the joint-top Premiership tryscorer of the season and Warriors’ highest-ever tryscorer in a Premiership season. We cannot wait to see him back at Sixways later this year.
Jonny Arr – Scrum-half
In his Testimonial Year, Jonny Arr has been a solid performer yet again as he ticked over 200 appearances for the Club. In 14 Premiership games, Arr was a busy man, making five breaks, beating four defenders and providing four try assists. With Arr, Francois Hougaard, Luke Baldwin and Michael Heaney scrapping it out for places in 2018/19, Warriors have depth in the key nine position.
Darren Barry – Lock
Darren Barry epitomises the word Warrior. As soon as he got his opportunities last season in the Anglo-Welsh Cup and European Challenge Cup, he grabbed them with both hands. He worked his way into the Premiership squad towards the end of 2017 and has been a consistent performer ever since as he went on to make 20 appearances across the campaign. His 12 in the league saw him shine at the lineout as he won 31 throws and stole two more, while also getting around the park and making 90 per cent of his tackles.
Anton Bresler – Lock
The Namibian-born lock came in at the end of December but was restricted to just seven outings in the Blue and Gold. However, his five Premiership appearances, mostly from the bench, saw the giant forward make 90 per cent of his tackles while winning two turnovers. He’ll no doubt add some grunt to the pack in 2018/19. With Bresler, Barry, Michael Fatialofa, Andrew Kitchener and Pierce Phillips in the second row next season, Warriors have some giants.
Ryan Bower – Loosehead Prop
The loosehead prop is an ever-present for Warriors. He made an outstanding 31 appearances in 2017/18 – the most of any player in the squad. Making 126 tackles in the Premiership at an 89 per cent success rate, Bower is one of Warriors’ biggest workhorses. His consistency at the scrum and work-rate have been tremendous and in 2018/19 he’ll be hunting more regular gametime as he looks to become another member of the Warriors 100 Club – currently having made 87 appearances.
David Denton – Back Row
David Denton’s move to Sixways ahead of the 2017/18 season helped him rediscover his form to earn international recognition with Scotland once again. And in his 16 Premiership games for Warriors he certainly played a key role in big wins over teams like Newcastle Falcons. With five tries, 14 defenders beaten and five breaks, his power in attack was evident, while his tenacity in defence showed too with 162 tackles at a 92 per cent success rate. We won’t be seeing him playing for Warriors next season, but we do have an exciting replacement in Scotland international back row Cornell du Preez.
Alafoti Faosiliva – Back Row
Alafoti Faosiliva is like a rhinoceros. He has been rampant for Warriors throughout this season across the competitions, in particular the Premiership where he made 18 appearances. The flanker’s 369 metres in 152 stampeding carries (at an average of 2.43) were a big part of Warriors getting on the front foot in key games. He beat 34 defenders, made nine breaks, provided ten offloads and importantly scored two tries to add to three assists.
Dean Hammond – Winger
The South African was restricted to mostly appearances from the bench but played a key role in giving Warriors impetus in the latter stages of games. His 13 Premiership appearances included four tries while he made ten breaks, beat nine defenders and averaged an impressive 6.59 metres per carry. With eight tries across all competitions, Dean Hammond finished as the Club’s second-top tryscorer and we know he’ll be hungry for more next year.
Bryce Heem – Winger
One of the most ferocious wingers in the Premiership, Bryce Heem lights up Sixways every time he plays. Although not a prolific tryscorer in 2017/18, he was crucial in Warriors’ big results. His 18 Premiership appearances saw him make 996 metres in 149 carries at an average of 6.68. An enormous 47 defenders beaten, 23 offloads and 19 breaks, demonstrate the threat of the Kiwi flyer in attack, while he also won 11 turnovers. It was only four tries in 2017/18, but you can bet your bottom dollar he’ll beat that next season.
Francois Hougaard – Scrum-half
The Springbok has been a quality performer for Warriors yet again in 2017/18. Missing the start of the campaign through injury and international commitments, Francois Hougaard returned to help spark Warriors in attack in ten Premiership games. He provided four try assists while making four breaks and beating ten defenders, with an average gain of 4.5 metres per carry. Warriors fans will be delighted they’ll be able to chant “Hougi” for another three years after the South African committed himself to the Club by signing a new deal.
Perry Humphreys – Winger
The bouncy winger’s season was cut a bit short through injury in January, but he sure impressed when handed opportunities. In just nine Premiership games, Humphreys helped himself to four tries, beating ten defenders and making eight clean breaks at an average of 6.47 metres with each carry. With Josh Adams, Bryce Heem, Dean Hammond, Tom Howe and Humphreys vying for places on the wing next season – mouths should be frothing at Sixways for what potentially pacey partnerships Alan Solomons will have at his disposal in the backline.
Jono Lance – Fly-half
Australian fly-half Jono Lance joined Warriors on a short-term deal in October and quickly made an impact at Sixways. In just six Premiership appearances, the stand-off shone for the men in Blue and Gold, providing a whopping five try assists while gaining an average of 5.14 metres with every carry. With nine defenders beaten and three clean breaks, his attacking prowess was clear but it was his defence that was impressive too – as he made 88 per cent of his tackles. The Sixways faithful will be looking forward to the Aussie’s return in the summer when he rejoins the Club on a two-year deal.
Sam Lewis – Back Row
Sam Lewis has been a Warriors machine and is another guy who puts his body on the line every time he steps on the field. With 19 Premiership appearances last season, he was at it all across the park. He beat 19 defenders, made nine breaks, 15 offloads and had an average gain of 2.55 metres. In defence, he won 11 turnovers while crucially making 289 tackles at a 93 per cent success rate. How he’s not been picked by Wales is beyond the comprehension of most Warriors fans. But their loss will no doubt be Warriors’ gain again next season.
Marco Mama – Back Row
Marco Mama was ruled out for most of the season with an ACL injury but fought his way back ahead of schedule to feature late in the campaign. He certainly showed Warriors fans what they’d been missing in his two starts and two appearances from the bench as he made 31 carries, beat three defenders and made three breaks. He also provided an assist, while in defence he won two turnovers and made 91 per cent of his tackles. He will no doubt be an asset to the pack in 2018/19.
Ryan Mills – Centre/Fly-half
Another man whose season was cut short by injury, Ryan Mills played a significant role when fit. In his 11 Premiership games, he provided an all-important six try assists while beating 15 defenders and making five breaks. His defence didn’t go unnoticed either. With 12 turnovers won and 128 tackles at a 90 per cent success rate, we’re very much looking forward to having the all-action centre and his leadership qualities back on the park next season.
Donncha O’Callaghan – Lock
It was a special farewell for Donncha O’Callaghan as he said goodbye to playing the professional game with a seven-try win over Harlequins. Even past his 39th birthday, the Ireland legend showed he still had what it takes at the top level, as he racked up 18 Premiership appearances last season. He made a thumping 151 tackles with a 97 per cent success rate and stood tall at the lineout, winning 37 and stealing four for his side. Although he won’t be at Sixways next season, Warriors fans can look forward to the arrival of Super Rugby champion Michael Fatialofa from the Hurricanes.
Chris Pennell – Full-back
What a season for Chris Pennell, who made his 200th Club appearance in an unforgettable beating of Harlequins at Sixways in April. The full-back’s experience and composure under pressure have seen him as a mainstay of the side throughout another busy campaign. With 16 Premiership appearances, Pennell made 1110 metres in 177 carries at an average of 6.27. He also beat 29 defenders, made 15 breaks and provided five try assists. Sixways loves this Club legend and they’ll no doubt get to see more from him in 2018/19.
Nick Schonert – Tighthead prop
Nick Schonert has enjoyed another fine season in the scrum as Warriors finished joint-fifth for scrums won per game in the 2017/18 Premiership. ‘Sharky’ made 18 appearances across the campaign, with 15 in the league, and it wasn’t just his scrummaging that’s caught the eye of the England set-up, having recently been part of their Training Camp in Brighton. He was a busy man across the park last season, throwing himself about to make 120 tackles while also making some big carries, including his maiden Premiership try in the win over Newcastle Falcons.
Jamie Shillcock – Fly-half
Still just 20-years-old, Jamie Shillcock has bags of potential. He’s had another good season in the Blue and Gold, making 16 appearances in the 2017/18 Premiership and scoring four tries. The youngster beat 25 defenders and made six breaks, with an average gain of 3.32 metres. With Lance and Duncan Weir to take him under their wing, there’s plenty of promise in the ten position next season.
Jack Singleton – Hooker
The 22-year-old played the most minutes of any hooker in the 2017/18 Premiership and his consistency has seen him called up to the England Training Squad. Another forward who has demonstrated his capabilities across the park, Jack Singleton played all but one of Warriors’ 22 league games, making three breaks, beating six defenders and playing his part in one of the tries of the season in a historic win at Leicester Tigers. At the set-piece, Singleton was part of a strong front row which finished joint-fifth for scrums won per game while he made the most lineouts of any player in the league with 225, at a success rate of 86 per cent. That’s not all either. His all-action displays have seen him make a mammoth 218 tackles across the season at an even more impressive 94 per cent success rate. It’s surely a matter of time before he wins his first England cap.
Will Spencer – Lock
Injuries meant that the towering lock was restricted to just 14 Premiership games last term but he was a big part of getting Warriors over the gainline with five breaks, 18 defenders beaten and 12 offloads. His ferocious defence saw him complete 179 tackles at a 91 per cent success rate while he also stood tall to win 43 lineouts.
Ben Te’o – Centre
Restricted to just 11 Premiership games through international selection and injury, Ben Te’o really found his form towards the end of the season. He made 105 carries at an average gain of 2.42, while making seven breaks and beating 27 defenders with his powerful running. The Sixways faithful will be hoping to see more of the British & Irish Lion in the 2018/19 campaign.
GJ van Velze – Back Row
GJ van Velze has been a tremendous leader for Warriors. All of his 66 appearances for the Club to date have been starts and that could well continue in 2018/19. His 20 Premiership starts last season saw him impress in both defence and attack. He made 459 metres in his 197 carries at an average of 2.33, while breaking the line nine times and beating nine defenders. His work-rate in defence can never be questioned either, as he made 248 tackles and won 11 turnovers. He was also a key figure in the lineout, winning 69 and stealing another ten (the latter being the joint-most in the league). Sixways will be hoping for more of the same from the South African back row next season.
Ethan Waller – Loosehead Prop
The loosehead prop joined Warriors hoping for more gametime and he has seen himself earn his position as a regular in the side – featuring in all but one Premiership game last season. He has demonstrated his talents across the park, especially in attack with four breaks and nine defenders beaten, with an average carry of 2.07 metres. Meanwhile, his 91 per cent tackle success and three turnovers won show that he can be a handful in defence. With Ryan Bower and Callum Black also battling for places at loosehead next season, there is healthy competition.
Jackson Willison – Centre
Jackson Willison was a tremendous player throughout the 2017/18 campaign. The New Zealander’s solid defence and consistency was vital to Warriors throughout while his eye for an offload saw him top the Premiership charts with 38. Although we won’t be seeing Willison in the Blue and Gold next season, we’ve got the likes of Springbok Francois Venter, Wales international Ashley Beck, Wynand Olivier, Mills, Te’o – and also young Academy centres Will Butler and Ollie Lawrence who’ll be pressing for places. And with Butler bagging two tries in his first Premiership start at Northampton Saints and Lawrence named in England’s recent Training Squad, it’s fair to say Solly is well-stocked in midfield.
Warriors Top Tryscorers 2017/18 (all competitions)
Josh Adams 17
Dean Hammond 8
David Denton 7
Tom Howe 6
Perry Humphreys 6
Most Warriors Appearances 2017/18 (all competitions)
Ryan Bower 31
Gareth Milasinovich 28
Josh Adams 25
Jack Singleton 25
Ethan Waller 25
GJ van Velze 24
Warriors’ Premiership Top 25s
1st Sione Kalamafoni (Leicester Tigers) 324
2nd Ruan Ackermann (Gloucester Rugby) 259
3rd Alex Goode (Saracens) 258
13th Josh Adams (Warriors) 201
=14th GJ van Velze (Warriors) 197
19th Jackson Willison (Warriors) 183
20th Chris Pennell (Warriors) 177
1st Alex Goode (Saracens) 1808
2nd Olly Woodburn (Exeter Chiefs) 1652
3rd Telusa Veainu (Leicester Tigers) 1520
5th Josh Adams (Warriors) 1205
=7th Chris Pennell (Warriors) 1110
15th Bryce Heem (Warriors) 996
1st Telusa Veainu (Leicester Tigers) 89
2nd Christian Wade (Wasps) 81
3rd Alex Goode (Saracens) 77
5th Josh Adams (Warriors) 61
=15th Bryce Heem (Warriors) 47
1st Jackson Willison (Warriors) 38
2nd Schalk Brits (Saracens) 29
=3rd Bryce Heem (Warriors) and Will Addison (Sale Sharks) 23
=12th Ben Te’o (Warriors) 18
=1st Olly Woodburn (Exeter Chiefs) and Christian Wade (Wasps) 37
3rd Josh Bassett (Wasps) 34
4th Josh Adams (Warriors) 33
=24th Bryce Heem (Warriors) 19
1st Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs) 103
2nd Calum Green (Newcastle Falcons) 99
3rd Graham Kitchener (Leicester Tigers) 97
8th GJ van Velze (Warriors) 69
20th Will Spencer (Warriors) 43
=1st GJ van Velze (Warriors) and Calum Green (Newcastle Falcons) 10
3rd Bryn Evans (Sale Sharks) 9
=14th Donncha O’Callaghan (Warriors) 4
1st Jonathan Ross (Sale Sharks) 336
2nd Lewis Ludlow (Gloucester Rugby) 329
3rd Ross Harrison (Sale Sharks) 301
4th Sam Lewis (Warriors) 289
=7th GJ van Velze (Warriors) 248
19th Jack Singleton (Warriors) 218
=1st Jamie Gibson (Northampton Saints) and Dave Ward (Harlequins) 19
3rd Brendon O’Connor (Leicester Tigers) 18
=16th Ryan Mills (Warriors) 12
=22nd GJ van Velze, Bryce Heem and Sam Lewis (Warriors) 11