Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting WN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Worcester Warriors 8 Saracens 26
THE devil, as they say, is in the detail and Warriors currently don’t appear to have the requisite precision to compete at this level.
Dean Ryan’s men put their heart and soul into every game — their fight and commitment cannot be questioned — and the scoreless second-half against Saracens is testament to that.
However, where they continue to fall down is with their accuracy in the white heat of battle.
I’ve lost count of the number of times this season Worcester have squandered potential point-scoring opportunities through their own misadventure.
On Saturday, for example, Warriors made a flying start to the game and Saracens were at sixes and sevens trying to keep them out, conceding penalties with regularity.
One such sanction allowed Ignacio Mieres to pump the ball to touch in the Londoners’ 22, but Chris Brooker, whose line-out darts were otherwise superb, failed to throw the ball straight and the chance was gone.
Through their own inaccuracy, Worcester took their foot off Sarries’ throat and the visitors capitalised by racing into top gear and racking up a four-try bonus point before half-an-hour had elapsed. Game over.
In the tight, must-win games of a relegation dogfight, these small percentages are where matches are won and lost — and ultimately decide who survives and who vanishes through the Aviva Premiership trap-door.
This game, though, was not one of those contests. Not by a long chalk. In fact, it is unfair of me to use the word ‘contest’, because this simply wasn’t one as Saracens were head and shoulders the better side.
There were small positives for Warriors to take out of the game, namely the fact they seem to have shaken off the irritating trait of only playing for 60 minutes of matches.
Holding Sarries out for the entire second-half — albeit after the men from Allianz Park had long since wrapped up all five points — shows how far Worcester have come.
They have made giant strides in a short space of time, but that only serves to highlight just how disorganised they were at the start of the season.
Is it too late for these improvements to salvage a season that looks destined to end in relegation? I hope not, but I wouldn’t be putting much money on them avoiding the drop on the evidence presented so far this term.
That said, if Ryan can continue to find improvements in his squad, the return of several key players from injury — Agustin Creevy in particular — and a bit of luck when other teams are missing a few during the Six Nations, then all hope is not yet lost.
While it is not ideal to be hoping for other teams to be weakened when you play them, that is the situation Worcester are in and, frankly, they need to take every scrap of fortune they can get.
Ryan will ensure his players never give less than 100 per cent every time they step onto the pitch. Then it is up to the players to cut out the needless errors that are proving so costly.