DEAN Ryan was full of praise for game-breaker Andy Symons after the centre continued his return to action following a long injury lay-off to spark Warriors’ important 17-12 win at Kingston Park.

The former Tasman Makos midfielder, who joined Worcester in the early stages of this season, is finding his way back to full fitness after suffering a broken collarbone against Saracens in December.

He made his comeback off the bench against Wasps and was again a replacement at Newcastle yesterday when he came on for Alex Grove on 65 minutes.

Soon after entering the fray Symons ran onto Ryan Lamb’s pass, spotted a gap and burst through before, with the try-line beckoning, off-loading to Josh Drauniniu for the game-changing score.

Director of rugby Ryan said: “Andy has threatened that a number of times, but we haven’t seen enough of him. I was keen to get Lamby with him to see if we could open things up.

“It was difficult in a game like this because there was a lot of pressure around – fear of making the error – and a lot of ball was kicked so we were just pleased we got something in the end and we have something tangible.

“It came off the back of a good team effort but not a ‘performance’ because that was the worst we’ve played for a while.

“The team is the difference. They work for each other and we’ve been competitive week in, week out.

“I don’t subscribe to this better at home, worse at home idea because if you’re a team you work every minute you get a chance to work for them.

“The impact off the bench was outstanding – Paul Andrew, Semisi Taulava and Andy – that’s the sort of input we need.”

Ryan added: “I’m just really pleased for the players. They’ve had a couple of rough rides in recent weeks. We lose in injury-time, we’ve been one point away against the top four sides.

“You desperately want to give them the fix but you can’t. I’m delighted how strong they’ve stayed as a team. We’ve been tight as a team for a few months and they haven’t disintegrated.

“We needed to be tight because it was a pretty ugly game, but we just had to hold in there and work together – absorb the mistakes and see if we can recover. And we did. It gave us enough chance to get to the end.”

Meanwhile, Warriors hooker Agustin Creevy summed up what everyone connected with Warriors was feeling after the win over Newcastle.

Shortly after the final whistle, the Pumas international tweeted: “No hay mal q dure 100 años! There’s no evil that lasts a hundred years #comeonworcester”