Worcester Warriors welcome Aviva Premiership Rugby’s leading try-scorers to Sixways on Sunday but Wynand Olivier insists the prospect of toppling Exeter Chiefs is not an intimidating one.
The Chiefs are on a high right now, second in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table and through to the last eight of the European Rugby Champions Cup.
They have crossed the whitewash 30 times in nine league games this season – more than any other team – and lost just one of their last eight matches.
Worcester, on the other hand, have lost their last ten in all competitions since beating La Rochelle at Sixways in round one of the European Rugby Challenge Cup.
In the league they have not tasted victory since round four, when they beat Newcastle Falcons 28-20, but Olivier believes the European break just gone has provided the Warriors with a perfect opportunity to recharge the batteries and get back to winning ways.
“The last couple of weeks have been good for a few boys to have a bit of a rest and it’s given some others the opportunities to prepare them for the Premiership,” said the South African centre. “It’s going to be a very tough period but we feel prepared.
“There have been a couple of games that could have gone either way now, Harlequins and Wasps recently, but there’s a lot of positivity in the camp that we can start turning those into wins. We’ve just got to start closing them out.
“Exeter are a great side and they’ve been developing lots of England internationals, but at home in front of the crowd at Sixways we always like to make it tough and we know we can compete against the best in the Premiership.”
The head-to-head record of these two sides doesn’t make for great reading from a Worcester Warriors perspective either.
Exeter have won all six of their previous meetings in Aviva Premiership Rugby, whilst the Warriors’ most recent victory over the Chiefs in any competition came in March 2004.
However, Exeter winger James Short is not expecting an easy ride when they travel north to Sixways.
“It’s going to be tough up there,” he said. “If you look at Worcester’s games this season, they’ve all been pretty close.
“They’ve got a decent side up there and we know we’ll need to put in another big performance if we’re to get anything from the game.”
Sixways, 3pm – Live on BT Sport
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys (10th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Peter Allan & Roger Baileff. TMO: Sean Davey.