ALTHOUGH Ryan Lamb has given Warriors an added attacking dimension with his play-making skills, he doesn’t seem to be the answer to their kicking woes going forward.
After the 32-20 defeat at Bath, Worcester’s director of rugby Dean Ryan revealed his fly-half ‘didn’t feel confident’ when aiming for the posts, which resulted in full-back Chris Pennell assuming the kicking duties.
While Pennell has produced admirable performances with the boot this term, he does not yet possess the required consistency of a first-choice Aviva Premiership marksman, which presents Ryan with something of a dilemma.
He said: “We are working at it, it’s not an easy solution. We don’t have a 90 per cent goal-kicker. Ryan didn’t feel confident the first two times at the sticks which just shows where we are.
“They work really hard and as long as someone works really hard I will back them all the time. It’s just part of us.
“I won’t go back through the season to recount every game and say ‘If we had got these three points’. We haven’t got a class goal-kicker in this team.
“We have brought Ryan in as a 10 to go forward with us and direct us in all aspects of his game and we are growing Chris to be a long-distance – and hopefully sound – kicker.”
Ryan added: “We have a lot of people coming in this summer. Ryan is a decent Premiership goal-kicker and what has happened this season doesn’t all sit on his shoulders.
“He has come in to unique circumstances where we have our backs right against the wall. Some people have fallen away but others have stood up and really performed – Ryan is one of those.
“Ryan has changed this team with the way we play. He has changed us with the confidence we have when playing. I am not about to go and bash him about the head for his goal-kicking because we have struggled with that for nine months.
“I just want to keep the group heading in the right direction and confident enough to give it one more go.”
Ryan also defended skipper Jonathan Thomas’ call to go for the posts with a late penalty from 40 metres out when trailing 25-20, rather than going for the corner and attempting to win the game and pick up a four-try bonus point.
“We were disappointed not to get something out of the game,” Ryan said. “But there’s no point trying to analyse whether we should have gone for the posts or the corner at the end.
“We are trying to win games, we thought we had some momentum with us, but couldn’t quite nail it down.”
On the decision to drop centre Ravai Fatiaki for Andy Symons, Ryan added: “I always said Andy works well with Ryan.
“Rav is very physical and runs a harder line, while Andy’s more about movement which showed (at Bath).
“I was pleased Andy got 80 minutes because he has struggled a little with injuries but everyone gets to see he is a decent 12 and has a good relationship with Ryan.”