11th Dec, 2019

Hogg expected to integrate first-team stars in Anglo-Welsh Cup

Aaron Wise 25th Jan, 2017

WARRIORS head coach Carl Hogg believes his side is capable of winning the Anglo-Welsh Cup despite admitting he would use the games to boost confidence ahead of pivotal Premiership fixtures.

The Scotsman admitted he will tweak his selection policy for the clash and bring in experienced first teamers for the games with Harlequins and Cardiff Blues in an attempt to boost morale in the camp.

Warriors host Harlequins at Sixways on Saturday (kick-off 3pm) and then head to Cardiff next weekend.

Cup games usually see the Warriors boss blood Academy prospects and give more game time to those on the edge of first-team selection.

Hogg believes Warriors can follow in the footsteps of Exeter and Northampton by lifting the trophy, before progressing as a top-level Premiership club.

Warriors sit third in Pool C after beating Bristol 31-25 at Sixways, before suffering a dismal 62-10 defeat to Wasps in Coventry.

“We’ll be looking to integrate some of the first-team squad against Harlequins and Cardiff in preparation for the Premiership.

“It’s about getting the balance right between providing opportunities and implementing returning players,” said Hogg.

“They’ll be some strong names coming back into the side this weekend (against Harlequins). We’re looking to get Bryce Heem involved and we’ll see if Francois Hougaard has enough work under his belt.

“Dewald Potgieter and Chris Vui are close to being integrated back into the squad too, potentially against Cardiff Blues in two weeks. There’s lots of options to select from now which makes training more competitive and healthy.

“Quins are always a strong side and have a strong youth system. A large majority of their squad has come through their academy, so they use this competition to blood a lot of the young players.

“But we’re using the Anglo-Welsh Cup to build momentum. If we can pick up some strong positive results off the back of that then we’ll look at the next stage of the tournament.

“I think it’s a great competition. Exeter won it before going on to progress as a club and climb up the Premiership and Saints have done similar, so it’s something we’ll be looking to do.”

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