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Shoots of life in evidence at last
MIGHTY oaks from little acorns grow, as the saying goes, and while Warriors are still akin to a sapling being battered by the gale-force Aviva Premiership conditions, there were some green shoots of a recovery in evidence against Bath.
The majority of the Sixways doom-mongers were again up in arms as Worcester slipped to their seventh successive league defeat of the season, but there were a few meagre crumbs of comfort to be taken from the match.
The biggest positive by far was the performance of the Warriors pack, which more than matched a Bath eight that have garnered a reputation as one of the most fearsome in the Premiership so far this term.
In fact, it was Worcester who were ‘Garnered’ in the set-pieces as referee Greg Garner was over-cautious given the conditions and reset several scrums when it appeared Warriors had the edge and deserved a penalty.
With the much-needed added firepower of Argentinian trio Gus Creevy, Mariano Galarza and the impressive Leo Senatore in harness, there are signs Worcester will at last have a pack that can push its rivals around rather than being on the back foot each week.
Either side of the powerful Creevy, a rejuvenated Euan Murray and the finally-fully-fit Ofa Fainga’anuku are providing two important cornerstones of the scrum, which have been painfully lacking all term.
Murray has been heavily criticised for his lacklustre performances this term but Dean Ryan revealed the tighthead has been struggling with an Achilles problem.
If he has now put that behind him as the last two outings suggest, the Scot can hopefully begin to perform to the level his marquee player status demands.
The Warriors pack is a much stronger unit now than earlier in the season, but Ryan is still crying out for a bona fide ball-carrier, as well as a real groundhog seven who can snaffle turn-overs — two key facets of the game that have been crippling Worcester this term.
While Matt Kvesic has struggled to make waves at Gloucester since moving down the M5 and having to play behind one of the weakest front fives in the league, his magnificent ball-pilfering skills are painfully absent at Sixways and his void has not been filled.
Although there were a few improvements on show against Bath, the bare facts still don’t lie and Warriors’ latest defeat made it 12 in a row in the league, stretching back to March last season, which is the worst run in the club’s professional era history.
Although Rotherham’s 30-match losing sequence will take some matching, Worcester are only five defeats away from second-placed Bedford (17) on the list of shame.
If they lose at Sale when league action returns on Friday, November 22, they will be joint-third with Bristol.