24th Jul, 2019

Warriors face ‘toughest test so far’

Rob George 9th Jan, 2019 Updated: 9th Jan, 2019

HEAD coach Rory Duncan has called on his Warriors’ charges to match the Ospreys’ intelligent kicking game when the Sixways side visit South Wales in the European Challenge Cup.

Warriors head to Swansea’s Liberty Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 3pm) for the table-topping clash, knowing a win would put them in pole position for a place in the latter stages of the tournament.

Duncan labelled the clash as Warriors’ toughest challenge in the competition so far and said the tie would be a different game to Worcester’s 27-21 victory at Sixways in October.

“They will have some personnel changes and when they are at home they are on their game. They are physical team who play a fast brand of rugby and have an intelligent kicking game which is something we will have to manage,” he said.

“Because of the big break [in league matches], there are a number of games that we can select to rotate the squad. What we have normally done is at the end of a block of Premiership games we have given guys who have started the majority of matches some time off.

“We haven’t done that this time. All the players have been training from the beginning of the week and we will finalise selection tomorrow (Thursday).”

Warriors top pool two of the European Challenge Cup and Duncan said the competition had proved competitive with no easy games for his side.

“Stade Francais away was a tough outing but we got a great result there. We then beat Ospreys at home the following week,” he said.

“The away game at Pau didn’t go our way but we managed to turn things around in the return match here. But this week’s game is going to be a little bit different. It means a lot to both teams.”

Warriors go into the game after a dramatic 21-19 victory over Bath in the 99th minute of an epic contest when

Duncan Weir added a nerveless conversion to Bryce Heem’s second try of the match.

Warriors had laid siege to the visitors’ line for 19 minutes of stoppage time but claims for a penalty try had been ignored by referee Ian Tempest.

But Bath’s ill-discipline proved costly as they had hooker Ross Batty sent off for a high tackle after 64 minutes and they had three front row forwards yellow carded in a chaotic finale.

Bath ended the match with only 11 men on the pitch and Warriors exploited their numerical advantage by attacking from the final scrum and sending Heem over on the overlap.

“The last 18 or 19 minutes were the longest of my life. But we were very happy with the result and the players had to fight from being 19-3 down at half-time,” Duncan said.

“The win means a lot to us as a club. It’s nice to go into a five-week break from the Gallagher Premiership with a win under your belt. Duncan is a quality player and once Bryce Heem had scored the try I was confident Duncan would put that one over.”

Duncan praised Ben Te’o for his efforts against Saracens and Bath and said the England star would be in action in South Wales.

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