22nd Feb, 2018

Warriors travel south in bid to find the Ex factor

Rob George 7th Feb, 2018

WARRIORS director of rugby Alan Solomons has hailed current Premiership champions Exeter Chiefs as an ‘outstanding club’ ahead of his side’s trip to the south west on Saturday.

Warriors travel to Devon (kick off 2pm) to face the current league leaders and Solomons admitted his men would face a massive challenge as they look for their fourth win in the league this season.

Warriors will make the trip buoyed by the recent 31-21 win over the Chiefs in the Anglo-Welsh Cup but Solomons is aware going to Sandy Park will provide a different prospect for his charges.

“They are a side built on solid foundations and Rob Baxter is an excellent coach,” he said. “They are a model club, they are an efficient and well-drilled team.”

Warriors will be looking to bounce back from their Anglo-Welsh Cup exit on Friday as a 33-27 reverse at the Dragons, combined with Northampton Saints’ 36-10 victory over Harlequins at Franklin’s Gardens, meant they missed a last-four place.

“The game against Dragons could have gone either way,” said Solomons. “There were a lot of positives to take from the game with players such as Andrew Kitchener and Tom Dodd impressing, and also schoolboy Ollie Lawrence.

“It’s important youngsters get opportunities to play. Giving them gametime is vital and that’s reflected with our five players in the England Under-20 set-up.”

Solomons said the minutes enjoyed by all members of the squad would be beneficial in the coming weeks in what he described as a ‘key block of games’.

“We gave breaks to a lot of guys in January as the season is so attritional and you want to make sure they are in good shape,” he said.

Solomons paid tribute to departing head coach Carl Hogg who confirmed he would leave Sixways at the end of the season on Monday and hailed the former Scotland, Edinburgh and Melrose flanker as a ‘terrific guy’. “He feels it’s time for him to move on at the end of the season,” he added. “The fact of professional rugby is that people move on and that’s just the nature of the game.”

Bryce Heem has returned from a fortnight’s break refreshed for the Chiefs game, according to Solomons, while Nick Schonert and Will Spencer should also be in contention.

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