“BATTERED and bruised” Worcester Warriors suffered more back-row injury woe in their chastening 36-16 defeat at local rivals Gloucester on Saturday.

Number eight Gerrit-Jan van Velze, who had returned to the side after recovering from a shoulder problem, was withdrawn at half-time with boss Alan Solomons revealing his captain was “battling with his breathing” due to a blow to his ribs.

Warriors were then dealt a further setback on 50 minutes when openside flanker Matti Williams had to come off after losing power in his right arm.

And Solomons confirmed blindside flanker Ted Hill had also sustained bruising to his forearm in the Gallagher Premiership clash at Kingsholm.

“GJ’s ribs took a bit of a blow and he was battling with his breathing so it was understandable (to take him off),” Solomons said.

“He probably needs a good break from the game.

“A lot of the guys are bruised and battered.”

Solomons felt Worcester’s defensive exertions in their 28-13 loss at Bath and 20-13 victory over Harlequins had impacted on his players’ showing at Gloucester as the hosts ran in four of their six tries in a dominant second half.

“You must remember that we made 278 tackles at Bath and 267 against Harlequins last weekend. That takes its toll,” Solomons continued.

“I don’t want to take anything away from Gloucester. I thought they played really well.

"But there is no doubt we felt the effects of those two previous games.”

Warriors also came into the contest without star flanker Sam Lewis who is nursing a tight hamstring while fellow back rowers Marco Mama (hamstring), Alafoti Fa’osiliva (calf) and Carl Kirwan (hamstring) are close to making comebacks.

With Williams and van Velze forced off lock Darren Barry had to fill in at flanker for the remaining half an hour at Gloucester.

“We have got to have a look at Matti,” Solomons said.

“I think and hope it is just a stinger so we have got to see how that recovers.

“He lost the power in the arm but we think it is just a bad stringer.

“Ted also had a knock on his forearm and it is a little bit bruised so we will just have to have a look at him as well.”

Solomons is now expected to rest his key men for Warriors’ trip to Pau in the European Challenge Cup on Friday night (7pm GMT).

But Worcester’s chief then plans to field a stronger side when the French outfit visit Sixways a week on Saturday.

“The guys who have been starting regularly over the past six weeks are going to get a short break,” Solomons added.

“Physically they need a little bit of a rest and mentally it is always good to recharge your batteries.

“They will then come back on Friday and we will be looking to play them at home against Pau as we then we lead into three massive games over the Christmas and New Year period.”