WORCESTER Warriors’ preparations for the Gallagher Premiership season were dealt a blow following a chastening 39-6 defeat at Wasps.

Aside from a robust defensive showing in a forgettable first half Warriors can take very few positives from this error-strewn Premiership Cup clash.

Marcus Watson was the star of the show for Wasps as he notched a second-half hat-trick with Tom Cruse and Josh Bassett also crossing.

But Worcester’s capitulation in the final 16 minutes and inability to get a try on the board leaves boss Alan Solomons with plenty to ponder heading into next week’s Premiership kick-off.

Geoff Berkeley picks out five talking points from Saturday’s defeat.


This was a pretty pitiful performance by Worcester.

There were aspects of the opening 40 minutes that they will be reasonably happy with. They forced Wasps into a ton of mistakes and apart from Tom Cruse’s early maul try they kept the home side at bay, trailing 8-3 at half-time.

But Worcester were equally as abject with ball in hand in a dire opening period and unlike Wasps they failed to improve after the break.

Once the hosts went 25-6 in front there was just no way back for Worcester as they were static in attack and were being prised open too easily with three-try Watson proving too hot to handle.

It may have been the third game of the season, but it felt like a first run-out for many of the Warriors players as they showed a concerning amount of rustiness.


After a heavy defeat like that you could probably reel off a long list of areas that Warriors need to work on.

But judging on Worcester’s past two performances, catching is arguably one of their biggest issues.

It’s not usually a department Warriors struggle in, especially when Chris Pennell is on the field.

But the full-back lost a number of aerial battles to hand possession to Wasps.

Last week the new floodlights at Sixways were blamed by some as a contributing factor as Warriors dropped many high balls but there can be no excuses this time around.

The lineout was also a big problem against Wasps. The fact Worcester selected a fourth different second row combination in as many matches no doubt played a role in the malfunctioning.

But hookers Niall Annett and Isaac Miller also struggled to hit their targets with the former crucially overthrowing at a five-metre lineout with Warriors trailing 5-3.


Solomons admitted the players that were selected to face Wasps had “a lot to live up to” after last week’s impressive defensive effort against Exeter Chiefs.

And on the evidence of their display at the Ricoh Arena many of the players did not respond to that challenge.

On paper this was a stronger side to the one that tackled Chiefs with the likes of Francois Hougaard, Duncan Weir, Ryan Mills and Melani Nanai all returning.

But they were unable to spark Warriors into life.

It leaves Solomons with some selection headaches ahead of Saturday’s league opener against Leicester Tigers.

Does he go with the star names that underperformed at Wasps or pick some of the youngsters that pushed Exeter all the way?


One of the biggest selection calls for Solomons will be at number eight.

After standout displays against Bath and Exeter Cornell du Preez put himself in pole position to secure the shirt.

But Gerrit-Jan van Velze is refusing to give up on his place as he produced a man-of-the-match performance at Wasps.

The captain might not be as powerful as du Preez but did everything he could to drive his side on and never switched off.

Even when the game was lost van Velze was quick to pounce on a loose ball after an overthrown lineout on Warriors’ own five-metre line.

Van Velze also thundered forward on several occasions and put in some hefty hits.

There is a possibility Solomons could pick both with du Preez at blindside flanker.

But that would mean leaving out either Ted Hill or Marco Mama.


Three defeats and one win does not exactly give Warriors a lot of confidence as they finished bottom of Pool Three.

But this was always treated as a pre-season competition and with any warm-up game the main aim is to get players back playing which they achieved.

They were clinical in the victory over Leicester Tigers and defended brilliantly in the loss to Exeter – both encouraging signs.

But the poor performances on the road should not be swept under the carpet as their away form is an area they must improve to stand any chance of getting close to the top six.

Fortunately for Warriors, they return to home comforts next weekend when they launch their Premiership season against Leicester.