THE size of the task facing Worcester Warriors’ new director of rugby Gary Gold was clearly evident in yesterday's 28-22 Anglo-Welsh Cup defeat against a weakened Harlequins.

Warriors badly lost their way in the second half against Quins and the former Bath and Newcastle Falcons chief, who arrives tomorrow, will be charged with restoring confidence.

Carl Hogg’s side should have grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck after racing into a 14-0 lead in the Pool Two/Three clash and could have added to their tally.

Warriors were still in a strong position, leading 19-7 after 46 minutes before they let Quins back into the contest.

Quins bagged a soft try in the first half from Charlie Walker, who waltzed through Worcester’s fragile defence from 45 metres.

And the momentum of the game changed when Charlie Matthews intercepted a Ryan Mills pass and ran half the length of the field to score under the posts.

There is no doubt there is plenty of ability in Warriors’ squad but Gold must unlock it quickly, add steel to their defence and direction to their play if they are to survive in the Aviva Premiership.

A lot will surely rest on scrum-half Francois Hougaard, who is set to make his first appearance of the season at Cardiff Blues next Saturday.

The South African, who has recovered from shoulder surgery, missed the Quins match after being laid low by a virus.

Hooker Joe Taufete’e will also be missed, having returned to the USA on paternity leave for the arrival of his first child.

Taufete’e has been an inspired signing by Warriors and capped another impressive display with his maiden try for the club.

Warriors went ahead after five minutes, Wynand Olivier stretching to tap down after the hosts had broken from their own line with Bryce Heem, Ben Howard and Tevita Cavubati combining superbly.

Mills added the conversion and slotted another after Heem had collected a pass from Jackson Willison to touch down following good link up play between debutant Auguy Slowik and Ben Howard.

Ruaridh Jackson scuffed a penalty wide for the visitors before wing Walker broke a tackle in midfield and sped through for Quins’ first try, which Jackson converted.

Mills rattled the post with a long-range penalty attempt on the stroke of half time.

Warriors led 14-7 at the break and took charge when Taufete’e was driven over for his first try from a line-out six minutes into the second period.

However, Matthews’ intercept try, out of the blue, which Jackson converted, gave Quins renewed hope.

Only a try-saving tackle by Sam Lewis denied former Warrior Charlie Mulchrone but Warriors' try-line was breached soon afterwards, Alofa Alofa jinking over after a punt downfield from Mills.

Jackson’s touchline conversion put Quins ahead for the first time at 21-19.

Cavubati was denied a try for making a double movement on the hour before Mills’ penalty fired Warriors 22-21 in front with 15 minutes remaining.

A dangerous kick and chase from Alofa was booted over the deadball line by Howard as Quins threatened again down the left. But Worcester's respite was only temporary.

From the resulting five-metre scrum, Alofa powered through from close-range for his second try and Jackson converted to take Quins six points clear.

At the re-start, Darren Barry was sinbinned for a clumsy challenge.

Quins should have rubber-stamped their win but Jackson missed a penalty, with four minutes remaining, amid a chorus of boos from Worcester's supporters seemingly angered by what they viewed as time-wasting tactics.

It was another frustrating finish to a match which had started so brightly for Warriors.