Fixtures - Top Bar

Ryan looks for Worcester Warriors’ older heads to lead the way

Dean Ryan is well aware of the challenges posed by Aviva Premiership Rugby but the Worcester Warriors director of rugby is hoping the experience of new signings such as Donncha O’Callaghan and Phil Dowson can help cement their place in the top flight.

Warriors’ memorable Championship play-off final win over Bristol Rugby meant Ryan ensured they returned to Aviva Premiership Rugby at the first time of asking in his debut season at the club.

By his own admission, Ryan did not have a burning desire to return to club rugby before Worcester’s benefactor and former executive chairman Cecil Duckworth came calling 18 months ago, with the 49-year-old thoroughly enjoying his work as a pundit.

However, having guided one of Aviva Premiership Rugby’s most exciting backlines in recent memory during four years at Gloucester Rugby, he is also under no illusions as to the battle they face to stay in the division.

The former Saracens and Wasps No. 8 has attempted to address the issue with the signings of experienced campaigners such as Ireland great O’Callaghan, ex-Northampton Saints captain Dowson and Springbok centre Wynand Olivier.

He is keen to stress having high-quality players on its own will not be enough though; he is trying to build a real ethos at Sixways and strike the right balance between youth and experience.

Ryan said: “We had Phil (Dowson) in before [promotion was secured] so people like him and GJ van Velze were part of the process before and understand what we are doing. So it is huge testament to them [that they wanted to sign even though] we might not have been out of the Championship.

“Now Donncha (O’Callaghan) and Wynand (Olivier)are just trying to take the percentage of experience up because we are in the Premiership and we would be naive to think we could come up with a bunch of youngsters and start throwing our weight around.

“We have to have a core of players who are strong enough experience-wise to hopefully get the balance right and we think we have got that part right.

“But the longer break means we have a game every week for the next six months and it will be tough for us – there will be no breathing space – so we will have our fingers crossed that the key guys will remain fit for the season.”

Dowson and van Velze will not have to wait long to face their former side Northampton as Worcester host the Saints in their Aviva Premiership Rugby season opener on Friday.

But while survival this season is obviously pivotal for Ryan, the ex-Scotland assistant coach also has one eye on the future.

He explained: “The club is an easy sell to the right person at the right stage of their life and ready for the challenges. It is not an easy life and for a lot of players you are already getting your competitive fix and success at another club.

“The challenge is slightly different at Worcester because it is about trying to build something and being at the start of something where you are trying to be influential in the way the club conducts itself.

“So people like van Velze and Phil Dowson are key people and they are educating the next tier of person about how to be successful.

“We have to get that balance right because Worcester have made mistakes about getting the right type of person before and didn’t have the ability to grow.

“If you look at the league profile of the club over the last ten years then it has not got any better.

“We are trying to do it slightly different so the Ryan Mills’ of this club become an established Premiership contender and he does it alongside Na'ama Leleimalefaga, who gave him the platform to be successful.”
 

The 2015-16 Aviva Premiership Rugby Season kicks off on 16 October. To see all of the fixtures click here.

Latest News

Teofilo Paulo excited by London Irish move but will miss home cooking

Samoan international Teofilo Paulo is making the most of his mum’s cooking ahead of the summer move to London Irish.…

British & Irish Lions beaten in first Test by New Zealand

Two second-half tries from winger Rieko Ioane helped New Zealand to a 30-15 victory in the first Test against the…

Harlequins Ladies coach savours upcoming Women’s Super Rugby season

Women’s sport is booming according to former Richmond prop and Scotland captain Karen Findlay, who is now relishing the prospect…

Aviva Tackling Numbers programme celebrated at Corporate Engagement Awards

Premiership Rugby and its Aviva Tackling Numbers programme enjoyed not one but two moments in the spotlight at the Corporate…

Corporate Engagement Awards

Lions ready for battle on eve of All Blacks Test

After months of waiting and weeks of build-up, The British & Irish Lions are ready to face the toughest challenge…

Saracens and London Irish to kick off the season at Twickenham

SARACENS and London Irish will help launch the 2017-18 Premiership Rugby season after being chosen as the home sides for…

Ex-England star Susie Appleby excited to lead Gloucester-Hartpury in inaugural Women’s Super Rugby campaign

Former England international Susie Appleby believes it’s an exciting time for women’s rugby as she issues a rallying cry to…

Wasps confirm 2017/18 pre-season schedule

Wasps have today confirmed their 2017/18 pre-season schedule, which will see them face Connacht Rugby and Ulster Rugby, as well…

Wasps celebrate

Quartet sign Academy contracts with Bath Rugby

Bath Rugby is delighted to confirm that Rhys Davies, Wil Partington, Miles Reid, and Kieran Verden have all signed long-term…

Todd Blackadder

Clare Daniels hoping to inspire the next generation of female rugby referees

The first female official in Aviva Premiership Rugby history, Clare Daniels, has urged girls and women to take up officiating…

Luke McLean enthused by London Irish move

Luke McLean is looking to reignite his international career under Italy Head Coach Conor O’Shea following his summer move to…

All Black Francis Saili joins Harlequins

Harlequins is excited to confirm today (Wednesday 21st June) that All Black Francis Saili has joined the Club. Commenting on…

Francis Saili

Bath Rugby sign Phillips from Bristol Rugby

Bath Rugby is pleased to announce the signing of James Phillips, who has joined the Club from Bristol Rugby until…

JamesPhillips1

Nowell gets two tries as Lions see off Chiefs in Hamilton

Exeter Chiefs’ Jack Nowell returned to his sparkling best with two tries for the British & Irish Lions in their…

Nalaga a big coup for Irish says international teammate Tikoirotuma

Explosive wing Napolioni Nalaga can be an big hit in every sense of the word during next season's Aviva Premiership…

Masi and Everard return to Wasps alongside new Academy Manager Jonathan Pendlebury

Wasps are pleased to announce a new Academy structure ahead of the 2017/18 season. The new set-up sees former Yorkshire…

The new Wasps academy coaches

Sale Sharks announce signing of Australia international James O’Connor

Sale Sharks have announced the latest in a wave of world class signings, as they confirm Australian International James O’Connor…

Sale Sharks announce signing of Australia international James O’Connor

Lions prepared for final warm-up before All Blacks Test

After a crucial victory against the Maori All Blacks, the British & Irish Lions are just a single match away…

Wasps sign Paul Doran-Jones and David Langley

Wasps today confirm the signing of props Paul Doran-Jones and David Langley, while loosehead Tom Bristow is confirmed as leaving…

Paul Doran-Jones