WARRIORS head coach Rory Duncan has vowed to continue rotating his squad ahead of the return clash with Pau at Sixways on Saturday (December 15).
The French visitors arrive in the city buoyed by Friday’s 21-6 success which handed Warriors their first defeat of their European campaign but Duncan vowed to continue to keep his charges fresh ahead of a busy period of games.
Duncan admitted he had never experienced back-to-back clashes against the same opponents during his coaching career but said the fixtures allowed for easier analysis of the Friday’s game.
“It’s still early in the competition. Pau are a tough outfit. They have got some big guys in the pack and some big, strong ball carriers,” he added.
Warriors fought tenaciously before falling to their hosts in the rain at the Stade du Hameau.
Once again Warriors were ferocious in defence but two lapses at the start of each half proved costly as Pau’s former New Zealand fly-half Colin Slade nipped in for two tries.
Those tries apart, Warriors were a match for Pau in attack but they again lacked the possession to convert it into tries.
They had to settle for two first half penalties from Jamie Shillcock and the chance of a losing disappeared two minutes from time when Julien Blanc crossed for Pau’s third try while Warriors had both locks, Darren Barry and Andrew Kitchener, down and requiring treatment
A host of Warriors players have committed their futures in the past seven days and Duncan revealed director of rugby Alan Solomons was working tirelessly on retaining players and bringing in new faces.
Youngsters Ted Hill and Ollie Lawrence were among those to sign and Duncan was full of praise for the club’s academy.
“We’re excited to have the players of the calibre Ted and Ollie who have come through the academy which is the future of the club,” he said.
“Ted is a physical unit who has played a number of Premiership games for us and who hasn’t stepped back since he made his debut at Leicester. It’s just the tip of the iceberg because there is a lot more to come in terms of Ted’s potential.
“The academy coaches have done a fantastic job. It’s not just Ollie and Ted, we have got a number of exciting young players coming through.”
Duncan also welcomed the addition of loosehead prop Jack Cosgrove from Bristol Bears until the end of the season.
Cosgrove, 24, is a product of Warriors academy who was capped by Scotland at Under-20 level during his first spell at Sixways but left to join Edinburgh and joined Bristol last summer ahead of their Championship-winning campaign.
“Alan had the opportunity to work with Jack at Edinburgh. I’ve not worked with him before but I’ve been pretty impressed with him this week. He’s quick to take ideas and concepts on board,” Duncan added.
Saturday’s clash with Pau kicks off at 3pm.