23rd May, 2019

ANALYSIS: How to avoid the drop

Worcester Editorial 15th Oct, 2015 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

AFTER a year away from the cut and thrust of the Aviva Premiership, Warriors will launch themselves back into the top flight on Friday.

But what will they need to do to avoid relegation? The Observer’s Warriors reporter Geoff Berkeley points out areas which could be crucial in their bid for survival.

Hit the ground running…

Dean Ryan may have played down his side’s chances of starting strongly, but with many teams without their international stars for the first few weeks of the season, Warriors have an opportunity to make an early push.

A home clash against Northampton Saints followed by trips to Sale Sharks and Gloucester await in this month and all should be seen as winnable matches. No victories in those first three games will heap pressure on Worcester.

The dreaded kicking curse…

A lack of accuracy from the tee was key to Warriors’ downfall in 2013/14, with Chris Pennell having to take over the kicking duties as others faltered.

But this was not an issue last season as Andy Symons and Ryan Lamb steered their side to promotion.

And with new recruit Tom Heathcote also looking impressive in pre-season, Ryan will hope the trio will push each other to convert their opportunities.

From boys to men…

A number of Warriors’ academy aces staked their claim in the Championship and the British & Irish Cup last season.

But with no LV=Cup this campaign, opportunities for promising young players will no doubt be limited.

And when offered a chance in the first team, Ryan will expect them to rise to the occasion. If they don’t, Warriors hopes of remaining in the top flight may suffer.

Forwards must turn on the power…

Warriors clearly have a lot of spark in the back-line, but their pack will be an area their opponents will look to target.

Ryan has brought in the experience of Phil Dowson, Tevita Cavubati and Donncha O’Callaghan to address this.

But without skipper Agustin Creevy at hooker, Worcester’s front row has a huge challenge to compete against some of the best in the country.

Stay united…

Worcester’s players often talk about the strong bond in the camp and this will be crucial as they attempt to retain their top flight status.

Results might not go their way at times, so it is important they stick together and the more experienced players keep a largely young squad upbeat.

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