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Worcester in confident mood ahead of Harlequins test

Dean Ryan admits an upturn in results has buoyed Worcester ahead of their visit to the Twickenham Stoop to take on Harlequins this Saturday.

The Warriors had won just twice all season by mid-February but three victories in their past four fixtures have lifted spirits at Sixways and they head to Quins aiming to make it three triumphs on the spin.

Having suffered a series of narrow losses during the opening months of the Aviva Premiership season, director of rugby Ryan has been delighted by Worcester's recent form.

"We're pleased with the success we've had in recent weeks and it's given the lads a boost," he said.

"I've not been unhappy with the way the lads are playing but when you can't get the win at the end of the game it can be difficult.

"So I'm pleased the lads have held their nerve. They've kept playing and they've got their reward at the end. The fact that we've got some results has made the season a bit easier for us because it is a relentless turnaround from week to week."

The Warriors' trip to play-off chasing Quins is Saturday's only league fixture, with four games to come on Sunday, including second-placed Exeter's home clash with a Northampton side two spots below them in the table.

The Chiefs have been the campaign's surprise package and having maintained their lofty position for much of the piece, head coach Rob Baxter does not want his players to concern themselves with dropping out of the play-off spots at this late stage.

"If you are second in the table and not enjoying every occasion, especially here at Sandy Park, that's what you are getting wrong," Baxter argued.

"I don't want the players worrying about where they will end up at the end of the season; I want them going flat out against Northampton because it's going to be a great game."

Sandwiched between Exeter and Northampton are Wasps, who will entertain Sale at the Ricoh Arena in the knowledge a defeat could prove costly in the play-off hunt.

"With the league as tight as it is currently - with the gap between third and eighth so narrow - one win or loss can completely change how the table looks," said Wasps director of rugby Dai Young.

Leaders Saracens entertain Leicester with the vastly-experienced Schalk Brits back in their XV following a three-game suspension while London Irish host a Gloucester team that, for the first time, will include full-back Tom Marshall in their starting line up.


From Belfast Telegraph