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Hill readies players for Perpignan test

Worcester boss Richard Hill has challenged his team to "put a marker down" when they resume their Amlin Challenge Cup campaign on Thursday night.

The Warriors face fellow unbeaten Pool Two side Perpignan at Sixways before heading to France for the return fixture next week. Whichever club collects most points over the two games is likely to secure a quarter-final place.

"It is a really exciting game for us and a big test," Hill said. "It's important we put a marker down here and ideally we would want a bonus point."

He added: "Our forwards will have their work cut out as Perpignan have a big pack and also we don't expect them to kick much. They will run the ball from their own line and only kick when it is a last resort.

"It will be an exciting game because we don't want to kick to them and allow them to counter. We want to keep the ball in hand, and they will too. We are both closely-matched, so it looks like it could come down to points or bonus points. We will be aiming to stop them picking anything up off us."

Hill has named a powerful line-up, including Samoa captain David Lemi and Scotland prop and recent arrival Euan Murray, but Perpignan will also roll out some star names.

Wales international James Hook features at fly-half, with Scotland international flanker Alasdair Strokosch and former Gloucester skipper Luke Narraway both named in the back-row.

Worcester return to European action following an Aviva Premiership victory over Saracens and a losing bonus point collected from champions Harlequins.

"We started off like a train at the beginning of the season and played some really good rugby," Hill added. "It's not often you can keep going on that upward curve and we hit a plateau when we had a spell with Wasps away, Sale at home to a certain extent, and Exeter away, where we dipped.

"But to produce two good performances, against the top two teams in the league, we feel we are back on track."


From Belfast Telegraph