WORCESTER Warriors head coach Jonathan Thomas has explained the precautionary approach behind the decision to withdraw captain Ted Hill from last weekend's derby defeat to Gloucester.

The injury relates to a problem he has had with his back and even though Thomas said he could have played through the pain, there was a fear of long-term damage being done.

"Ted had some neural symptoms from a sore back that he's had," explained Thomas.

"We could have pushed him to play but then he could have done a grade three hamstring. He's had some strength issues in his hamstring recently and we want to look after our players.

"We want Ted to have a really long career and we want him him to play for the next 15 years for this club so you need to look after our young men.

"So we didn't want him to go and play and tear his hamstring and be out like Melani for fourth months so that's why we decided to pull him out.

"He's getting better and we are confident he will be fit this weekend but he's still got to jump through some hoops this week but we are hopeful he will play."

Elsewhere on the injury front, Thomas is hopeful that fly-half Billy Searle will return to action this weekend after missing the last three games due to a wound-related injury he sustained in the defeat to Exeter Chiefs in January.

"We are confident he will be involved," he said.

"He will have to go through the return to play protocols but all being well he should be available."