WARRIORS resume their European Challenge Cup adventures this weekend as Russian side Enisei-STM become the first visitors of the new decade to Sixways.
Alan Solomons’ men start their 2020 run of home games with three in a row, starting with Saturday’s clash against Enisei-STM ((kick-off 3pm).
Warriors, who currently sit third in Pool One, will be looking to progress to the knockout stages for the second year running by backing up a 50-point winning display in Russia and recording a vital victory at Sixways.
Castres Olympique, who are three points ahead of Warriors, then make the trip from southern France to Worcester next Friday, January 17 (kick-off 8pm). The month will end with a Gallagher Premiership clash against Wasps on January 25, with Dai Young’s stars battling to push up the league after winning just two of their opening eight top-flight fixtures.
Warriors will go into this Saturday’s clash on the back of a 62-5 reverse at Saracens in the Gallagher Premiership after they endured a miserable afternoon against the wounded Premiership and European champions.
Sarries were docked 35 points and fined more than £5million for breaching the competition’s salary cap, leaving one of English rugby’s premier sides marooned at the bottom of the table.
Sixways chiefs were the first to back Premiership Rugby’s decision to issue the punishment for a breach of the competition’s £7million cap on wages in each of the 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 season
Ed Fidow’s first senior try was scant consolation for Warriors on a bruising afternoon at Allianz Park.
The Samoa wing showed a flash on individual brilliance to follow up his own chip ahead after Ollie Lawrence had prised open Saracens’ defence midway through the second half but it was the combined effect of a Sarries matchday squad that could boast almost 500 caps between them that proved decisive.
Saracens ran in ten tries in a ruthless display which condemned Warriors to a long and unrewarding afternoon in defence.
To make matters worse Warriors lost lock Michael Fatialofa who suffered a neck injury in a collision within a minute of replacing Graham Kitchener.
Play was halted for 15 minutes while Fatialofa was treated by medical staff and he was then carried off on a stretcher and taken to St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington where he remains in the intensive care unit.
He is fully awake and alert and has his family with him. Despite initial positive scans showing no broken bones, doctors found bruising and swelling on his spinal cord and operated on Monday (January 6) evening to relieve the pressure caused by the bruising and help restore function to his arms and legs.
Nick Tait, Warriors’ club doctor, and the club’s medical team are in daily contact with Michael’s neurosurgeon.
Michael and his wife Tatiana have been overwhelmed by messages and offers of support from the rugby community across the world.
Warriors players, staff and club co-owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham have also been closely involved in supporting Michael and his family.
Speaking at his weekly press conference yesterday (Tuesday), boss Alan Solomons said the 27-year-old was upmost in the thoughts of the whole club.
“He’s in good hands and he has the support of the entire club – owners, players and staff – as well as the whole rugby community,” he said.
“Everyone’s thoughts and prayers are with Michael and his family. He is a very well thought of. He’s a popular member of the squad and he is very highly-regarded by the other players.”