Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting WN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Dean Ryan hopeful after Worcester Warriors second-half improvement
“I THINK we paid the penalty for spending half-an-hour sightseeing Billy Vunipola,” was Dean Ryan’s wonderfully deadpan assessment of Warriors’ first-half struggles against Saracens.
The director of rugby saw his side ship four tries inside 30 minutes against the Aviva Premiership table-toppers, but was pleased with how they fought back to hold them scoreless after the break.
“After 20 to 30 minutes, we decided to get involved in the game and looked a pretty good side,” Ryan said.
“I thought real credit was due to us for being quite tight and putting pressure on them — they are a really good side with some really good players.
“As they showed against Leicester, if they get a start — as they did against us — they can do a lot of damage, so I was really pleased with our response.
“With the pace and power they have, you can’t afford to just sit and watch and I think we showed in the second-half that we can take things to them.
“Saracens are at the top end of the league and you can either get involved with them or get blown away, so for us to get involved the way we did — possession-wise and everything else — was pleasing.
“We lack a bit of the power and finesse they have, that’s why they’re one of the best sides in the league, but we don’t lack in attitude, spirit or bloody-mindedness.
“I thought James Percival was magnificent — to be at that level in that intensity of contest and right at the front of it — he was outstanding. Several other guys also did themselves a lot of credit.
“You are always fearful that you can sit in awe of things and the game looks very different. We said at half-time that we needed to make some changes and I thought we had a great response.”
Despite the result, which was Worcester’s 11th league defeat on the spin this season, Ryan remains positive going into the second half of the campaign, insisting his side are making massive strides each week.
He explained: “We look a pretty tight team now, but we recognise we have some massive challenges ahead of us in the new year.
“But we’re in a pretty good place to do that — a very different place to where we were six or seven weeks ago.
“We know what is coming round the corner and recognise the importance of it, but I don’t think we could be in a better place than we are now to take on that challenge.
“There is no miracle out there for this club, it is just about doing those things really well with some big fellas doing it accurately — Sarries show that more than anybody.
“It’s not about finding something else, it is about our players hitting it head-on and doing things really accurately.
“Sarries have probably one of the best defences in the league, but I thought we pulled them around.”