DIRECTOR of rugby Dean Ryan believes Worcester Warriors have got the potential to be even better after stunning last season’s table toppers Northampton Saints at Sixways.
A drop goal from Tom Heathcote with the last kick of the game sealed a memorable 13-12 victory for newly-promoted Worcester in their opening Aviva Premiership match on Friday night.
Ryan said he was delighted to see his players stand up against their power-packed opponents and praised ‘outstanding’ former Saints aces Phil Dowson and GJ Van Velze who scored the only try of the game.
But the Warriors boss admitted there was plenty of areas to work on as his side failed to land four penalties before Stephen Myler edged Northampton ahead in the final two minutes.
“It would have been really disappointing not to come away with the win after having pretty decent control,” Ryan said.
“But I think more importantly we have got a lot of images that we can compete physically and we have got defence and a scrum that can stand up to one of the power sides.
“So I have got some really reassuring things that we can work on and build around.
“And just talking in the changing room, I think we can be better. I think we can be smarter and we can take some confidence that physically we can be in this league.
“Coming out of the Championship is one of the most weirdest things in the world as you know that you have got to get across a gap, but you don’t know how big it is.
!Well, it was not as big as we thought because we did a lot of work and it stood up to the barrage and thankfully we got four points at the end.”
Ryan also praised the character of Heathcote who missed three successive penalties in the second half before slotting home the match-winning drop goal
“Tommy was really disappointed to miss those kicks,” he said. “He has kicked so well in pre-season, but moving that into the pressure of the Premiership is something we have got to get used to, so fair play to him to stand himself up.
“We knew we only had one shot at it. We weren’t going to run it over and he had to put himself there.
“The temptation to roll a couple more phases and see if anything else happened was there, but he put himself back there and pulled the trigger.
“So to nail that one at the end was fantastic.”