WARRIORS head coach Carl Hogg believes the club’s spirited performance against Gloucester has provided the perfect springboard for Friday’s clash with reigning European champions Saracens at Sixways (kick-off 7.45pm).
Despite eventually falling to Gloucester 24-19 at Kingsholm last Friday night, the former Melrose, Edinburgh and Scotland back row is proud of his players for fighting back twice from 17-0 down and 24-6 down to nearly steal a shock win at the death.
Hogg believes the performance, paired with the returning combination of Ryan Mills and Francois Hougaard, will stand the club in good stead as they prepare to welcome last year’s Premiership semi-finalists.
“We showed a huge amount of character and endeavour and gave ourselves an opportunity (to win) in the last play of the game,” said Hogg.
“An away victory would’ve been very hard-fought, but we obviously got off to a very slow start.
“We shipped points when the yellow card (on Donncha O’Callaghan) occurred and we knew Gloucester were going to come out and play from deep, so we wanted to fill the front line defensively but we slipped off one or two tackles and it cost us dear.
“In the second half we did the simple things well and showed a lot of spirit to fight back. I thought Ryan Mills got us very good field position and applied pressure on Gloucester’s back three, which gave us opportunities. He’s a good leader and a smart rugby intellect. He gives us a real vocal edge from ten.
“It was his first game back and he’s only going to get better and better. With Francois Hougaard back too it will give us some strong direction at nine and ten.
“It definitely could be a turning point for us. We still need to look at our game and how accurate we can be, and our error count is still too high, but it’s within our control.
“That’s the really positive thing. These are things we can fix. It’s early in the season and we’re still finding our feet and getting into a rhythm.
“Saracens will be another tough challenge. It’s been a tough start with home games against Wasps and Exeter Chiefs, but off the back of that Gloucester performance the players can be proud of the effort they put in,” he added.