DIRECTOR of rugby Dean Ryan said his Worcester Warriors team were bullied by Exeter Chiefs in their crushing 42-3 defeat in the LV= Cup.
Warriors had targeted the match as the perfect build-up to their return to Aviva Premiership action against Leicester Tigers at Sixways on Friday.
But they were out-muscled by their Devon opponents, who booked their place in the semi-finals against Bath.
Exeter, who ran in five tries, were 18-3 ahead at half-time and continued their onslaught after the break as Warriors faltered.
“We got bullied today, up front and at the end, they got over the top of us,” Ryan said.
“There isn’t anywhere to go, there isn’t a coaching book or some chapter that we haven’t read, that’s just simple basics and there isn’t any way of hiding from it.
“We lost the physical contest and that was exactly what I didn’t want to see, so that’s hugely disappointing. I didn’t want to see a run fest, I wanted to see us front up.
“We spent four weeks making sure people were fresh and the performance didn’t happen. That’s very disappointing.”
The Warriors chief continued: “Exeter played it simple, were powerful and aggressive with their set-piece dominance and good kicking, nothing flash.”
Asked if he could pick out one of his team’s better performers, Ryan said: “I don’t want to because I don’t want to create a message in that.
“We lost and we lost quite clearly. We lost a physical game and, full credit to Exeter, they weren’t flash, they didn’t run the ball around, they just came after us physically and we couldn’t answer it.”
Exeter forwards coach Rob Hunter said: “Other than the defence at the end, our set-piece went very well and we put a lot of pressure on Worcester at the line-out as well so that went well. Also, our attitude was really good.
“We know we’re a good side, some weeks we play really well, some weeks we don’t play as well. We know the reasons for that and we’re working to keep getting better.”