Director of Rugby Alan Solomons spoke to the media today ahead of Friday’s friendly at Northampton Saints.
Here’s what Alan had to say:
On the return to training
We all had three weeks off which was reasonable in the circumstances. Like everyone we are having to adjust and adapt.
We have a friendly at Northampton on Friday which will give everyone the opportunity to play some rugby which is what we need.
Although we played relatively recently it’s still five weeks since we played Saracens and we need to have some contact work and some rugby going into the new season next week.
You have four players away on international duty
I am really chuffed, particularly for Ted Hill and Ollie Lawrence, two of our homegrown Worcester boys who we hope will be involved with England against Georgia on Saturday.
Both Ted and Ollie played their formative rugby at local clubs and schools and it’s fantastic that they can share in their success too.
It’s also great to see Cornell du Preez and Duncan Weir in Scotland’s squad for their game in Italy. Duncan has not started for Scotland for some time but he has been in good form for us and he deserves the opportunity.
To have four players on international duty is fantastic for the club. It gives everyone a boost, particularly our young players who see Ollie and Ted, who were in the Academy until very recently, playing for their country.
It also benefits us to have players coming back to Warriors who have the experience of being involved in international rugby and the training and preparation for international matches.
You have added George Merrick and Marc Thomas to the squad
Lewis Holsey is going to be out for a few months with a shoulder injury so we were looking for cover at loosehead.
Marc is a very experienced player who, as a Welshman, Jonathan Thomas, knew. He’s a tough fellow and a good guy who has slotted in well.
It’s the same with George. Graham Kitchener is still
out with a foot injury and George already has plenty of Premiership experience with Harlequins.
He’s a big lad who I think is going to add value to the squad and he has also fitted in very well here.
What do you make of the schedule for the new season?
We have 19 back-to-back matches which is something that I have not experienced in my time in professional rugby which goes back to 1997.
But never in my lifetime have I experienced a pandemic like COVID-19.
Although we don’t have crowds in at the moment it’s important that we play. We need to play for TV and to help ensure that clubs and the game are financially viable.
People across all walks of life have made huge sacrifices over this period and we are no different.
The news of a vaccine for COVID looks promising and, being an optimist, I believe that come the spring we will be able to have crowds back again.
In the meantime the players have got used to playing without crowds but we know that our supporters are watching us on TV.
What are your targets for the new season?
We are getting into a good position here. We have a core of talented homegrown Worcester players and we have got a fantastic coaching team that I believe will be here for the long haul.
It would be great if we could get into the top eight and the following season the top six. That is not saying that we are not aiming for the top six this season.
The level of the Premiership has gone up tremendously and it is a very tough competition full of quality teams who are well coached and well prepared. There are no easy games.
But the future here is very bright with a core of young lads who want to stay and play their rugby for Warriors.
Matt Moulds’ foot is still not 100 per cent right at the moment.