JUSTIN Clegg cannot wait to hear the Sixways roar after playing in the “surreal” atmosphere of a large stadium with hardly a spectator in it when Worcester Warriors opened their European Challenge Cup campaign with a 57-14 victory over Enisei-STM.

The Kuban Stadium in Krasnodar has a capacity of 31,000 but there were 30,600 empty seats to watch Warriors rout the ‘home’ side.

With the harsh Russian winter preventing Enisei from playing European matches at home in Siberia or in Moscow, the Russian champions were forced to find a temporary home 2,500 miles away.

“It was a great stadium to play in, the pitch was really good but it was a bit surreal with hardly anybody watching. Thankfully the match was streamed live so hopefully people were able to follow it,” said Clegg.

“It was weird in the warm-up and we had a quick laugh about it. It was a bit like a training session but that is comforting as well because you don’t have lots of opposition fans giving you stick.

“It will be nice to get back to Sixways and hear the Warriors fans again.”

Despite a gruelling schedule which included two overnight flights, Warriors players looked fresh and sharp with fly-half Jamie Shillcock scoring a hat-trick of tries in a 27-point haul.

Lock Clegg was one of five Warriors players to score their maiden try for the club – debutant centre Oli Morris, scrum-half Jono Kitto, tighthead prop Richard Palframan and replacement scrum-half Gareth Simpson were the others – which gave him cause for satisfaction after missing most of last season.

Clegg was part of the young Warriors side that famously defeated a star-studded Stade Francais in Paris in October 2018 but he then missed the rest of the campaign with a stress fracture of the back.

“That win in Paris was one of the highlights of my career at Worcester,” Clegg said.

“I was itching to back it up straight after that so to miss the rest of the season was really tough. I couldn’t do anything but wait for it to settle. When I could start running and it wasn’t hurting that was pretty much it. I could go again.

“I have trust in the physio and from there it’s been really good to go to Hartpury and get some game time with them in the Championship. I’ve really enjoyed that.

“It’s done me some good to come here with some confidence and some game time and show what I can do.”

It wasn't just on the pitch that Clegg impressed in Russia. He also took the stage and led the team singing at a karaoke session at the post-match reception where Warriors players and staff enjoyed lavish and warm Russian hospitality.

“To come over to Russia and get a win is brilliant. The atmosphere in the squad was great and the boys have had a great time,” Clegg said.

“Logistically it was tough but the boys gave it a good go and stuck together. We had a team run only three or four hours after we got here “We didn’t let the journey affect us at all. It was good to see everyone giving at a really good go even when it got tough in the last 20 minutes. The boys who came on to finish the game did a really good job for us.”