WORCESTER Warriors’ capture of Ryan Lamb from Leicester Tigers certainly raised a few eyebrows given the fly-half’s strained relationship with director of rugby Dean Ryan while the pair were at Gloucester.
Lamb was part of a Cherry and Whites side that twice finished top of the Premiership but was beaten in the play-off final on both occasions by the Tigers.
The 27-year-old was a key element of Ryan’s teams but was perceived to be something of a loose cannon despite his ability.
But he insists he has nothing but respect for the coach and is focused on making Warriors a success.
“It wasn’t as bad as everyone made out,” Lamb said. “We had five good years and came top of the pile a fair few times and I think when we didn’t make that next step to win something, he wanted to go a different direction.
“I thought I had stagnated a little bit so it was a mutual decision that we were going to part company but there’s been a lot of water under the bridge and Dean is one of the best coaches I’ve played under.
“The vision he’s got for the place is very exciting and I’m happy to be part of that.”
He continued: “I’ve been in the Premiership for nine years now and I feel comfortable in the environment. I’ve known Dean since I was a young lad and he brought me through. I respect him massively as a coach, I think he’s one of the best around and hopefully I can bring something to the club.”
Sixways chief Ryan added: “I’d be surprised if it’s the last time I’m pulling out my hair when working with Ryan but that’s part of the attraction of working with him. I’m fully aware of what I’m taking on, I’m not walking blindly into the room.
“I’m really quite energised about working with him. What he’s capable of doing with the ball is second to none and my job is to harness some of that, talk with him and manage others around him.”
With fellow fly-half Toby Flood released by England, and Owen Williams and David Mele also proficient with the boot, Lamb was deemed surplus to requirements at Leicester, who are also bringing in Freddie Burns from Gloucester in the summer.
Lamb said: “I like competing against the best and trying to develop myself as much as I can. Freddie was in the academy when I was at Gloucester so I know him pretty well and he’s a very good player.
“It would have been nice to compete against him, it’s not happened but coming to a place like this is something I am really looking forward to.
“It’s a lot different challenge to what I’m used to – I’m used to fighting for play-off spots – but I see it as a better challenge to stay up than getting into a play-off spot.”