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Cooper Vuna: Worcester Warriors have ‘little saviour’ in Jamie Shillcock

The Sixways support was left shattered by Sale Sharks’ comeback in Round 4 but wing Cooper Vuna says the performance of Jamie Shillcock will have quickly mended any broken hearts.

The 19-year-old, one week removed from his first Aviva Premiership Rugby start, ran in two tries against Sale in a display that regular full-back Chris Pennell would have been delighted with.

Most impressive was the fact that Shillcock’s preferred position is at fly-half, but the teenager was nonetheless powerless to stop the Sharks from taking a share of the spoils in a 34-34 thriller.

And since Shillcock first appeared in a matchday squad as a replacement against London Scottish in April 2015, Vuna has watched him flourish before his very eyes.

“Shilly is like our little saviour,” said former Australia international Vuna. “He is coming out of his shell from when he first started with us in the Championship.

“He is gone out this year and has put a marker down out there, to show that he’s not a rookie player but like all of us veterans.

“He scored a couple of tries but his kicking game is really good as well, and he just needs to build with games like that. He is going to get better and I’m sure he has England caps in his future.”

However, the disappointment from the weekend still lingers for a side that so often race out in front but do not possess the staying power to get over the line.

In the first four rounds of Aviva Premiership Rugby, Worcester have conceded 94 points in the second half – out of a total of 114.

Next in wait lie Newcastle Falcons, who secured a first away league win since October 2014 with victory over Gloucester Rugby last weekend.

And Vuna admits his team can ill-afford to repeat the same mistakes that have cost them dearly through the first four rounds of the season.

“We spoke about being calm in the second half (against Sale) but individual players want to be superheroes when we needed to trust our system,” Vuna added.

“There were also a lot of positives to take – we know as a team we can put teams away quite early if we do the little things right.

“Newcastle are a team that can have one bad game and then turn up the next week, they are a good side.

“We’ve played them in three games since promotion and we have won all three times, we just can’t give them a sniff.

“They can play, they do have some backs that can do some damage and we have to front up quite early.
It will be a tough game, especially at home as we are dying for a win there, but we just need to stay calm.”

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