New director Dean Ryan’s tactics are already paying off.
Academy manager Mark Hewitt admits the ideals of new Worcester Warriors director of rugby Dean Ryan are already rubbing off on the club as his troops booked their first ever J.P. Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby 7s Series Final appearance.
Heading to Kingsholm on Thursday night Worcester had only ever won one J.P. Morgan Premiership Rugby 7s game – having lost all three last time out.
But it was a different story this time around as the Warriors swept all before them, claiming a maximum 15 points with victories over Gloucester Rugby, Bath Rugby and Exeter Chiefs.
This was a fine way to get Ryan’s tenure at Worcester off the ground and while he might not have been barking the orders from the sideline, Hewitt was adamant the new boss’ message was certainly in force at Kingsholm.
“It was a great night and we had a great mix of youngsters and senior pros and we showed a fantastic spirit, worked hard for each other and reaped the rewards,” Hewitt said.
“The biggest thing for us was the spirit we showed. In all the games we worked particularly hard. When people broke the line we worked back and you can’t ask any more than that.
“Under Dean’s regime he wants us to be competitive every time we take the field and we drove that into the guys.
“We wanted to be the new Worcester Warriors and a team that starts winning things.”
While Worcester live to fight another day – heading to the Rec for the Series Final on Friday August 9 – Bath Rugby and Exeter Chiefs were not so fortunate.
However, Gloucester Rugby squeezed through and while they might have left it late 7s coach Rob Thirlby isn’t ruling out his Cherry & Whites from finishing top of the pile at the Rec.
The hosts got off to the ideal start as they got one over West Country rivals Bath Rugby in the opening clash of the night 29-19.
But after losing to Worcester Warriors Gloucester faced a winner-takes-all clash with Exeter Chiefs in the final game to see who would join them.
And thanks to Steph Reynolds and Gareth Evans doubles the Kingsholm faithful had plenty to shout about as they lived to fight another day, winning 28-19.
“The first job was to qualify which we did even though it was a bit of hard work,” said Thirlby, who played with England at the 2001 and 2005 Rugby Sevens World Cups.
“But we are disappointed with the Worcester game as they showed some real class in the way they played.
“They were good around the contact area and with the restarts and that is something that we can work on and there are improvements we can make to come out better next week.
“I think we will work on our restarts with and without the ball and some work around the contact area as it was a bit loose.
“If we put a few things right there is no reason why we can’t win it. Competitive 7s is a funny game. You can have seven great individuals but they might not be as good as a group of seven playing as a team.”
For tickets to the J.P. Morgan Premiership Rugby Series Final at 7pm on Friday, 9 August at The Rec, Bath visit: bathrugby.com/tickets
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