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Preview: Worcester Warriors v Harlequins

Preview: Worcester Warriors v Harlequins

Worcester Warriors have lost their last seven Aviva Premiership matches but centre Tom Casson insists there is absolutely no way Harlequins will underestimate them when they arrive at Sixways.

The Warriors’ 20-18 loss to London Irish last time out moved them to within one defeat of eight straight, something that hasn’t happened to them in the competition since the 2007-08 season.

Worcester’s only victory over Harlequins in their last 14 clashes in all competitions since 2005 came in that season, the Warriors emerging 23-22 victors at the Stoop in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.

However Quins have lost two of their last three Premiership matches, the play-off semi-final defeat to Leicester Tigers back in May and last weekend’s 13-6 reverse against Northampton Saints.

And centre Casson, who played 77 minutes of that loss to Northampton, admits Quins will not take Worcester lightly, adamant they never have done and they won’t start now.

“You look at the fixture list and you always see Worcester away as a really tough contest,” he said.

“There is going to be a lot of graft and they have a never give up attitude.

“In no way would you ever get complacent against them. We see them being very physical and hard-working. They will try to destabilise our ball and get into our rucks and try to prevent our fast play.

“We know what we have to do so we just have to execute it. With the Northampton game we have set our standards with our physicality and our work rate.

“We know that when we play good rugby we are hard to beat and we are still as determined as ever. We take it every game at a time and it is all about the performance.”

Quins got the better of Worcester 42-26 in their last encounter in April at Sixways – the fourth loss of their current seven game run spanning last season and into this term.

But Warriors director of rugby Dean Ryan believes the Friday evening nature of the fixture could bring a change in fortunes, Quins’ defeat to Northampton coming on the same night last week.

“Friday nights at Sixways are pretty special by all accounts as we get a few people here and the place jumps around a bit,” said Ryan.

“Quins are one of the best rugby sides around, the champions of two years ago and I like what they do a lot. I’m looking forward to putting them up against it.

“We’re not going to get caught up in the week-to-week ‘that was good, that was bad’, we will just be welcoming Quins here and seeing if we can rattle them.

“Nick Evans didn’t kick very well in the first-half of Quins’ defeat to Northampton last weekend and I’m not sure you could write that again.

“They’ll be looking to bounce back and they’re a good side who play at a high tempo and have a lot of really classy, individual broken-field runners, which we will have to try and keep under control.”

Referee: Wayne Barnes (125th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Robin Goodliffe & Paul Dix. TMO: Geoff Warren.

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