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It will be a long road to success
NEW director of rugby, new coaching team, new players — same old Worcester.
As the few fans who had turned up to Sixways to watch the game — just the 6,994 of them — filed out of the ground, The Jam’s ‘Town Called Malice’ was played over the stadium’s speaker system.
If ever a song perfectly summed up the mood of the supporters...
The defeat — a disappointing result on home soil against a side tipped by many to be relegated from the Aviva Premiership this term — was a bitter blow to everyone associated with Warriors.
However, it was the manner of it which will have depressed the on-lookers the most as the home side managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory with four minutes remaining — one of the hallmarks of the doomed Richard Hill regime.
That said, Dean Ryan’s class of 2013 is very much a work in progress and the former Gloucester coach’s pragmatic approach should be a good fit with what’s required at Worcester.
Unfortunately for the supporters, success at Sixways is seen as a long-term goal, so more results like Saturday’s may have to be endured this term.
As so often has been the case, poor discipline turned out to be Warriors’ Achilles’ heel and Ryan believes the only way to fix this is to change the perception of the club for the people who look in upon it.
In between endlessly re-setting scrums, chatting with his touch-judges and watching painstaking replays on the big screen while the TMO pondered various non-decisions, referee Tim Wigglesworth got it into his head that Worcester were transgressing more frequently than their opponents.
This ultimately manifested itself in a whistle-fest at the expense of Ryan’s men, leading to a last-gasp Ian Humphreys penalty to snatch the points.
Ryan’s point — and it is a valid one — is that Warriors need to help themselves by not giving the referees the chance to award these penalties, but he also feels the officials need to change their pre-conceived opinion that when a ruck is formed Worcester will more often than not be infringing.
There were a few crumbs of comfort for those associated with the team in Gold and Blue, though, and that is the obvious impact Shane Howarth is already having on Warriors’ new-look back-line.
Ignacio Mieres has a good tactical kicking game, is a strong ball-carrier and has an eye for the gap, while the centre pairing of Josh Matavesi and Ravai Fatiaki looks better with every game.
The obvious threats posed by wingers David Lemi and Josh Drauniniu were manifest last term, but the overwhelming positive so far in this embryonic campaign has been full-back Chris Pennell.
Since bursting onto the scene from the academy, his career has been dogged with injury, but he now looks an impressive player and should come into contention for a Saxons call-up sooner rather than later.
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