TOPPLING Saracens at Twickenham may be an unenviable task but Aviva Premiership Rugby new boys Worcester Warriors have already shown that the big games can draw out their best performances.
And Worcester captain GJ van Velze believes the summer recruitment of players who’ve been there and done it before bodes well for their chances at the London Double Header.
First up on 28 November, Worcester will face Saracens, who lifted the Aviva Premiership Rugby title at the same stadium back in May then an ever-improving Wasps will meet Tom Coventry’s London Irish.
It’s unlikely however that Warriors will suffer from any pre-match jitters after showing the nation exactly what they could do in the opening game of the season.
Warriors overcame perennial play-off challengers Northampton Saints – who beat Saracens at Twickenham to clinch the trophy two years ago – to get their 2015-16 Aviva Premiership Rugby campaign off to a flying start. And with the likes of Ireland legend Donncha O’Callaghan and veteran back-rower Phil Dowson at their disposal, van Velze says there is no reason why they can’t take another big scalp.
“We’ve kept the core group of players who we believe have the values and the attributes to be successful at Aviva Premiership Rugby level, then we’ve added a few faces where we have identified where we needed some new personalities,” said van Velze.
“If you look at a signing like Donncha O'Callaghan and the experience he brings to the party, these guys are going to be huge for us throughout the season and we’ve got exciting times still to come.
The club will be treading into uncharted territory at the London Double Header, having never participated at the event before and Twickenham will be the perfect showcase to show just how far Warriors have come under director of rugby Dean Ryan over the last two years – though van Velze says his side have only just scratched the surface.
“We’re in a long process to make Worcester a very successful club, and we know that’s not going to happen overnight,” he added.
“There was a lot of work done last year on that and we need to keep progressing throughout this year too.”
See two Aviva Premiership Rugby games at Twickenham from just £24 as Saracens face Worcester Warriors and London Irish play Wasps at the London Double Header on 28 November. Click here for tickets.