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Warriors must seal deal for ace Matt
RICHARD Hill needs to lock Matt Kvesic up in a room in the depths of Sixways and not let the impressive England Saxon out again until he has put pen to paper on a new Warriors contract.
Ever since he burst onto the Worcester scene as a 17-year-old, the back-row tyro has constantly put in mature-beyond-his-years performances that suggested a stellar future lay ahead.
So good is the former England under 20s star, I can see him going on to win 50 caps for the Red Rose senior side.
Although the game ended in a heart-breaking defeat for his team, Kvesic put in a timely man-of-the-match showing against Leicester, which would not have been lost on the on-looking England management duo of Stuart Lancaster and Graham Rowntree.
The national side’s top brass were no doubt present at Sixways to monitor the performance of Leicester’s Tom Croft, who was making his first start since a nine-month injury lay-off, with the forthcoming Six Nations in mind.
However, they would have been more impressed by the outstanding display of Warriors’ young openside who, on this form, could easily force his way into Lancaster’s Six Nations plans.
As far as Worcester are concerned, though, they must pull out all the stops to keep their out-of-contract back-rower, lest he goes on to become yet another Warriors academy-produced star who forges a brilliant England career at another Aviva Premiership club.
Tom Wood is the perfect example as he quit Sixways for Northampton and went on to stand out in England colours and be widely tipped as a future captain.
And that brings us back to Kvesic who, in my opinion, is a better all-round player than Wood was at a similar age. The sky really is the limit for this barnstorming flanker and Worcester must ensure that future is in Gold and Blue.
Looking back at Worcester’s gut-wrenching defeat to Leicester on Friday night, one thing sprang to mind more so than the many and varied talking points the match threw up. That was the psychological advantage top teams like Leicester can create for themselves.
In the wake of the Tigers’ 17-12 win over Gloucester at Welford Road, Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill slammed the performance of referee Andrew Small, claiming the official had not given his side the full benefit for a dominant scrummaging performance. This outburst no doubt caused ructions among the RFU’s Professional Referee Unit and, lo and behold, next time out Leicester are awarded not one, but two penalty tries.
I’m not saying either decision was fundamentally wrong — although the second was harsh as the Tigers front row was driving forward before the ball went in and the touch judge missed a knock-on by Ben Youngs — but there’s no doubt Cockerill’s scathing words would have been going through referee JP Doyle’s mind each time he set up the five-metre scrums.
Doyle was the official who handed Gloucester a scrum penalty to snatch a last-gasp draw at Sixways — a decision referee’s chief Ed Morrison issued an apology for — and Doyle has done Worcester few favours once again.