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Dean Ryan: Lamb may not figure at Saints
6:22am Wednesday 12th February 2014 in Sport By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
NEW signing Ryan Lamb is not certain to make his Worcester Warriors debut at Northampton Saints on Saturday (3pm).
The 27-year-old fly-half has signed an undisclosed long-term contract at Sixways after making the switch from defending Aviva Premiership champions Leicester Tigers.
But director of rugby Dean Ryan, who worked with the player during his tenure at Gloucester, says Lamb may have to bide his time.
Ryan wants to keep faith with the bulk of the team who ran Tigers so close last Friday in a 23-22 loss and is hoping his new recruit can inspire the likes of Paul Warwick and Ignacio Mieres to greater performances.
The Warriors boss said: “Ryan’s in contention because he’s here, fit and desperate to play - that’s why he came here.
“But I don’t think we’re at a stage where we need to do that (play him) just yet. It would be disrespectful to what went on last Friday. He needs to understand what’s going on and then we’ll create an opportunity.
“The short-term issue around Ryan is about providing some sort of response. I’m not overly worried who that is, so we don’t have to go to Ryan if there’s a response from Paul and Mieres.
“We’re looking to drop him in the mix and see who else reacts and plays better. It’s not been an area where we’ve been clear about who’s number one.
“If we get the response we want, then we’ll stay with that. If we don’t, then we’ll look at managing change.”
Ryan continued: “The drop-off can be quite significant if we start making changes so, within reason, we’ll be reasonably close to that group (from Friday).
“If people can push hard to get into selection, then fine, but a lot of people did themselves some credit on Friday so deserve to roll again if fresh.”
While Lamb could yet play a major role in Warriors’ bid to avoid relegation, his director of rugby also has one eye on the future.
Ryan explained: “Here and now, it offers something different for us but, more importantly, the decision was always framed around him being here in the future.
“He’s a quality English 10. He was frustrated by a lack of game-time at Leicester but we’re not Leicester, we’re looking for some inspiration.
“The opportunity to drop him in straight away was taken but, if you look at the next two or three years, it strengthens our fly-half resources.
"I’d love him to be part of the catalyst for taking this club through the next few years.”
Meanwhile, tighthead prop Euan Murray is back in light training as he steps up his recovery from a long-standing Achilles injury and the cut hand he suffered while chopping wood with an axe at a team barbecue last month.