WARRIORS director of rugby Gary Gold wants his players to put a marker down when they begin their pre-season schedule this Saturday against Championship outfit Hartpury College at Sixways (kick-off 4pm).
The Worcester chief said it is critically important to use the club’s three pre-season games against Hartpury, Birmingham Moseley and Munster to get the balance right ahead of their Premiership curtain-raiser against Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park on Friday, September 1.
Hartpury stormed to the National League One title last term with 30 wins from 30 matches, and Gold believes they won’t be pushovers in England’s second tier.
“We’re using this first pre-season friendly to put a marker down. We’re definitely not seeing it as a fitness test,” he said. “Hartpury are a much-improved team and I think they’re going to be really competitive in the Championship this year.
“I definitely wouldn’t want to take them lightly, so we’d like to put a marker down. I think it’s about getting the balance right as you don’t want to play too many pre-season games because the Premiership is so long. But you don’t want to go into the Premiership undercooked.
“In the three pre-season games we’ve got, we’ll probably balance the squad between the first two games and then obviously start to take shape against Munster.
“It’s critically important that during the time the guys are on the field we’re really clinical in terms of what we’re looking to do, otherwise we’re going to miss out on that opportunity before the Premiership begins.
“You don’t want to start the season too tired because you’ve already played too much rugby, so it’s about getting that critical balance right.”