WARRIORS head coach Carl Hogg insists the squad is as ‘lively’ as he has seen it for a long time as the club prepare to return to Premiership action on Saturday against Harlequins.
The former Melrose, Edinburgh and Scotland back row believes he has struck a balance between competition for places in both the side’s European Challenge Cup and Premiership campaigns, in time for their trip to the Twickenham Stoop (kick-off 3pm).
“We never went too far outside the Premiership 23 squad in Europe, because it’s a competition we want to progress in. But we also wanted to make sure that when we take on Harlequins players are match fit,” said Hogg.
“We’re taking the European Challenge Cup very seriously, so returning to the Premiership this weekend will provide a heavy workload for players within the squad.
We need to make sure we manage the group across all 22 rounds of the Premiership, whilst extending our stay in Europe.
“We’ll probably use the Anglo-Welsh Cup to look at the wider squad and some of our younger players that are kicking at the heels and ready to put their hands up.
“We’ve now got a level of competition on both sides (Europe and Premiership) and it’s pretty lively. It’s (the squad) has been as lively as I’ve seen it for a while because you want players competing for places and competing hard. Competition is healthy in the group.”
Reflecting on the first block of European games, Hogg has been impressed with his side’s performances and expects the gained momentum to carry on over into the club’s Premiership campaign.
A 30-20 victory over Brive at Sixways paired with a 15-8 losing bonus point defeat to Connacht in Ireland has lifted Worcester to second place in Pool 5 on six points.
“It (Connacht’s Sportsground) was a difficult place to go, but (this block of European games) has been a good exercise for players who have been primarily on the bench to start games and I thought they performed well,” said Hogg.
“We got a result against Brive and I think that will give us a real kick-start to the season. We worked so hard to get that win and it’s now about riding that wave. We want to shift the momentum and that’s what we intend to do on Saturday at Quins.”