WARRIORS chief Dean Ryan felt his youthful side lacked the required physicality to take on an experienced Sale outfit.
With the Salford-based Sharks going all-out for qualification from Pool One of the Amlin Challenge Cup and Worcester unable to progress, the two sides’ priorities were at polar opposites.
Steve Diamond’s men desperately wanted a four-try bonus point, so it was credit to Ryan’s up-and-coming tyros that they denied their hosts the maximum haul.
“We finished on top in terms of field position, but we hadn’t got that snap that gets you over the top of somebody,” explained the Sixways director of rugby.
“We did a lot of good things, but nobody carried over the top, then suddenly we had Sammy (Tuitupou) coming down the middle and they were back on the front foot.
“We can do a lot of good things, but then it swings round quickly and ‘bang’ it’s gone the other way. That’s the nature of what we’re trying to do learning-wise and the midfield needs to know how physical the contest is.
“We lost Josh (Matavesi) early and we then lost Paul (Warwick), so we had to shuffle things around and ended up with Jonny (Arr) at full-back.
“We had a very young group with Max (Stelling) and Josh (Watkins) out there, so it was a big lesson for us.
“We’ve used this competition all the way through to keep growing the depth of this club and we have been able to get Max into the England under 20s squad when no-one had heard of him three or four months ago.
“Josh (Watkins) is getting a bit of game time too now — it was a difficult night to do it and we had to learn a few lessons, but that’s what coming in at this level is all about.
“It showed at times that we had a young and inexperienced team out. Sale are a good side and they are very physical and we probably lost that contest.
“I am pretty sure Brian (Redpath) and Steve (Diamond) would have talked about their players coming out and being physical in that 10 to 15-minute burst after half-time.
“We didn’t meet that and we ended up just playing a little bit laterally.
“That is why we were playing the youngsters, though, and they were up against two very physical midfielders for Sale and a very strong back row.
“We couldn’t get anyone over the top of them but, in reality, unless you can do that, there’s not a huge amount else you can do.
“Because they got on the front foot, it meant Dwayne (Peel) can be really dangerous and find holes.”