WARRIORS chief Alan Solomons has revealed he is anticipating a physical test when his side make the 2,308-mile trip to western Russia to face Enisei RTM to start their European Challenge Cup campaign.
The Sixways side begin their epic journey with a flight out this afternoon (Wednesday) and will fly back at 1am on Saturday at the end of the game and will arrive back in the UK on Saturday afternoon.
Speaking ahead of the journey yesterday (Tuesday), Solomons admitted the journey was not ideal but was the best way to tackle a ‘long, long trip’.
“It’s an opportunity for rotation and to give opportunities to some of the players who haven’t played recently and to rest those who have been playing. It’s about not only keeping the squad playing but keeping the squad fresh,” he said.
“We also have to take into consideration that it’s only a six-day turnaround from Harlequins.
“We don’t know a lot about Enisei but we know that they are one of the top clubs in Russia,” Solomons added.
Warriors tackle the first two European games on the back of an impressive 19-14 victory over Harlequins on Saturday at The Stoop in a performance which pleased the Sixways boss.
“We played really well and we managed the game well in difficult conditions,” he said.
“We didn’t start particularly well but we clawed our way back into the match and Jono Lance’s penalty on the stroke of half-time was vital because it meant we were only five points down.
“If you look at the game as a whole we had 15 penalties to their ten, we turned the ball over 13 times, they turned it over 20 times. In terms of territory and possession, we had the better of the game and we deserved to win,” Solomons added.
Victory left Warriors eighth in the table after the first four games of the new Gallagher Premiership table and Solomons admitted nine points was a decent return.
“We were missing a number of players who would have come into consideration against Harlequins so to play as well as we did speaks volumes for the strength in depth we have in the squad,” he said.
Chris Pennell is recovering from his lacerated thigh and he is due to train today (Wednesday) while Ryan Mills and Duncan Weir will also be back in training with Warriors chiefs hoping they will be available for the match at Castres next Saturday (November 23).
Matt Moulds has returned to training alongside Nick Schonert who has recovered from his knee ligament injury.
Solomons confirmed Marco Mama had suffered some internal bleeding from a blow to the leg but had seen a specialist who confirmed nothing untoward.
“It’s roughly a six-week injury but we hope Marco will be back sooner,” Solomons added.