DIRECTOR of rugby Dean Ryan believes Worcester Warriors’ efforts against the Ospreys showed what the future of the club could be like.
The new-look Sixways side produced an encouraging display to defeat a mixed Guinness Pro12 outfit 23-6 in their first pre-season outing.
Wing Sam Smith, who scorched over inside 20 seconds, and fellow summer recruit prop Nick Schonert, along with full-back Ben Howard, scored the tries, while fly-half Ignacio Mieres converted one and kicked two penalties.
Defensively, Warriors were tenacious as they prevented Ospreys from breaching their line and two first-half penalties from the boot of Sam Davies was all the Welsh region had to show for their efforts.
While Ryan openly admits Warriors are a work in progress, as they bid to negotiate the Championship at the first attempt, he reckons there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic.
A crowd of 3,874 watched the match and the Worcester boss is confident they will have gone home buoyed by the performance.
He said: “If players show how much they want this place to work and can illustrate it, people get behind them. This was a step towards that and I hope people enjoyed it.
“I hope people can see players on the field with a Worcester shirt on wanting to do really well for the club. That’s a massive start for us.
“We’ve spent a lot of time working to get this group in the right place and they looked sharp against European opposition.
“Given the changes in personnel, to hold composure under pressure was a huge bonus.
“We have a core within our group that really want this place to work and we were able to show that.
“I want people to see something different and they did.”
There were a raft of new signings on show, including a completely new front row, while scrum-half Charlie Mulchrone bossed proceedings at the breakdown.
Ryan added: “It was a collective effort with everybody working really hard to make it work.
“The defensive aspect was outstanding and we struggled to get that intensity last year.
“Right from the first game we’ve got it and now we’ve got something to build on.
“Ryan Bower and Schonert in the scrum with Niall Annett were outstanding, that caused huge problems.
“We haven’t seen that group play together before and to drive the Ospreys all over the place was outstanding.
“I’ve seen new combinations at the back and Smith on the wing having a more influential role than he had at Quins.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do and a lot of getting better to do but we’ve got something to trade with, which is really important for us.”
Dean Hammond was helped off towards the end of the match after taking a knock, as was fellow centre and new signing Heath Stevens, a second-half replacement for Max Stelling.
Warriors: Howard; Smith, Stelling (Stevens 62), Symons, Hammond (Drauniniu 71); Mieres (Eden 59), Mulchrone (Bruzulier 66); Bower (Rapava-Ruskin 54), Annett (George 54), Schonert (Daniels 59), Williams, Sanderson (Percival 66), de Carpentier (Smith jnr 75), Betty, Cox (Scotland-Williamson 45). Replacement not used: Fatiaki.