Preview: Worcester v Bristol

Date published: May 27 2015

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After a pulsating Greene King IPA Championship play-off final first-leg, Worcester and Bristol meet again on Wednesday for another key game.

The Warriors head into the second-leg at Sixways with a one-point lead, after hooker Niall Annett’s last-gasp try handed them a 29-28 victory at Bristol.

Worcester are looking to bounce straight back into the Premiership after dropping out last term but with Bristol doing the double over them during the regular season, Dean Ryan's side know they have their work cut out.

"It's half-time isn't it? And it's really tight," said Ryan. "If anybody is looking in at these two teams they don't need any better advert for the Championship as it was seriously impressive stuff last week.

"I wanted us to come out and attack them and I thought the lads did a great job, then really stood firm second half when they threw everything at us.

"To finish as we did really showed a lot of fight and was outstanding, but it doesn't actually mean anything until the end of the second leg. This game is on level terms effectively at Sixways.

"This is a good group of players, and they didn't surprise me last week as I see what they're like every day and they work very hard for each other.

"I'm pleased that we got a little bit of a psychological lift by winning at the end, as they've already beaten us in two very tight games.

"So it's even-stevens and it's going to be a straight shootout, as one point isn't going to define the tie; whoever wins this game is in the Premiership."

Meanwhile, Bristol may have had a six-point advantage snatched from them at the death last week, but director of rugby Andy Robinson feels his team can bounce back. 

They will be without Ryan Jones (shoulder) and Gavin Henson (fractured shin), after both were forced off in a brutal first encounter. But Robinson believes that having hauled themselves back into the contest after going behind in the first-leg, his resilient side has what it takes to respond at Sixways.

"Last week was a roller coaster game of rugby and a real ride for the supporters," he said.

"We got ourselves back in the game, defended heroically and that second-half performance was very pleasing.

"All we've thought about this week is that it's the beginning of the game, and that they have scored that final try right at the start.

"I think we should be able to dust ourselves down and come back as we did at the start of the second half. We're confident about playing away from home and looking forward to a battle at Sixways, and we'll tweak a few things from last week to get a win.

"We believe we can go and do that having played before, but we'll have to go right until the final whistle.

"Both Ryan Jones and Gavin Henson will be out this week, so we will have to use the big squad that we have; we know what we have to do and we're looking forward to the game."

Formed in 2009, the Greene King IPA Championship is the second tier of professional rugby union in England. To keep up-to-date with all the latest news follow @ChampRugby on Twitter, or visit www.rfu.com/championship

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