Worcester Warriors boss Carl Hogg has called for an urgent improvement as his side prepare to face Gloucester Rugby at Sixways in the Aviva Premiership Rugby’s M5 derby.
The fixture with the Cherry & Whites will see the club trial their new state-of-the-art 4G playing surface, and Hogg has believes it’s imperative Worcester put down an early-season marker following their defeat against Saracens at the London Double Header last weekend.
Worcester Warriors have slipped to five straight defeats in Aviva Premiership Rugby, while David Humphreys’ men have not lost their opening two fixtures of the season since 2013/14.
“It’s the first game of the season at home, under lights and a local derby,” said Hogg.
“It’s imperative we put a marker down. We want to make this a really tough place for opposition to come to and that’s something we intend to do on Friday.
“The atmosphere under lights at Sixways is normally phenomenal and I expect the same for this match.
“I feel that over the last couple of games we have not really got our ball in hand.
“We think our movement is a point of difference and something we are looking to develop and we are looking to get it on to the field on Friday.
“Saturday was a difficult afternoon because we didn’t have a huge amount of ball in hand but hopefully on Friday it gives us an opportunity.”
Warriors are sweating over the fitness of skipper GJ van Velze (head) and prop Nick Schonert (elbow), who picked up knocks in the defeat to Sarries.
Meanwhile Gloucester, who collapsed against Leicester Tigers last weekend, are also seeking their first Aviva Premiership Rugby victory of the season.
The two clubs met on four occasions last season, with each side winning its respective home game in Premiership Rugby, but Gloucester achieved the double in the European Challenge Cup.
Gloucester’s only victory at Sixways in Premiership Rugby since 2006 was by a single point in May 2010, but Humphreys is confident the pieces are in place to buck that trend.
“Everything we have been doing through pre-season – from the way we play to the way we prepare and our fitness – it is very different from what we had before,” he said.
“Again, that first 50 minutes last weekend was as good a display as I have seen at Kingsholm for a long period of time.
“There are some huge positives to take away but what we have to make sure of is, when we get ourselves in those positions again, we kick on as the top teams do.
“We have some very experienced players there who have been in situations like that and they know how to see out games.
“We know, moving forward, we have some big challenges ahead and we have to respond the best way we can against Worcester.”
Sixways, 7.45pm – Live on BT Sport
Referee: Luke Pearce (53rd Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Paul Dix & Roy Maybank.
TMO: Stuart Terheege.