Worcester Warriors are still searching for their first win of the Aviva Premiership Rugby campaign but prop Val Rapava Ruskin insists the signs are very positive after their early season showings.
The Warriors slipped to defeat last time out against Bath Rugby but were very impressive early on as they opened up a 17-6 half-time lead.
And after also securing a draw against Gloucester Rugby in round two, Carl Hogg’s side have shown glimpses of their attacking talent.
The squad has been stretched with a long injury list while the influence of Francois Hougaard – on international duty with South Africa in the Rugby Championship – has been greatly missed.
But the likes of Perry Humphreys have emerged to put their hand up in the absence of bigger names.
And Ruskin – who was won more turnovers than any other player this season so far according to Opta Statistics – is confident the Sixways side are soon to turn the corner.
“We are a very dangerous side – we have a few injuries and a small squad but look how guys like Jamie Shillcock and Perry Humphreys have come in and done absolutely wonderfully,” said the Georgian-born 23-year-old.
“If those guys are stepping up for the team and contributing then that is very encouraging and shows we can compete with any team in this league.
“We know we can work together to be dangerous as a team, we just need to make sure we are playing our best rugby for the full 80 minutes.
“But everyone is playing well, we all know our jobs and roles and the results are going to come.
“The result against Bath was not what we expected – particularly after a great first half. But a few things didn’t go our way and that had a big effect on us.
“But there are a lot of positives to take from that game – plenty of negatives too but the building blocks are there.”
The departure of Dean Ryan this summer was always going to leave a hole but Rapava Ruskin insists the Hogg revolution is taking shape.
And with Sale Sharks arriving at Sixways this weekend – the loosehead prop is confident the Warriors are ready to claim their first win of the season.
“Dean (Ryan) leaving was a big change for the club and the players and staff but at the same time it is important to realise that our job stays the same,” he added.
“This big chance means it is an exciting time but our rugby must remain our focus and we are still confident in where we are going. This is club headed in the right direction.
“Dean was a big influence on me, as he was on many of the boys. He was the reason that I came to this club.
“But Carl has done a superb job at creating his own environment and all the players are standing firmly behind him.
“We all want to be successful and there is still a great bond between the playing and the coaching staff.
“Sale lost to Gloucester last time out so we know they will be raring to pick up the pieces and put that right this weekend.
“It is going to be a really big battle with some heavyweights up front – two sides that pride themselves on the physical side of things.
“But we feel that at home we can do a job on them – in the set-piece we will hope to dominate and it will be an interesting game – really the focus has been on our own preparation.”