New Worcester head coach Jonathan Thomas has welcomed the two-week break in the season caused by the decision to suspend the European Challenge Cup due to concerns of French clubs about the spread of Covid-19.


Warriors, who are eleventh in the Premiership, were scheduled to travel to Swansea to play Ospreys this Friday and then host Pau at Sixways on January 23 in their remaining matches in the pool stage of the Challenge Cup.

Those matches have now been postponed and the entire squad have now instead been given a week off before they return to training next Monday to prepare for a demanding schedule of nine consecutive Gallagher Premiership matches – starting with the visit of reigning champions Exeter Chiefs on January 30.

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“The whole squad have been given the week off which means that we can have two weeks prep for Exeter,” said promoted Worcester coach Thomas. “We then have a nine-match bloc which is going to be tough so having this down-week will give all the players a break, which we needed.

“We can then have a good conditioning week and, with Mark Jones having come in as senior assistant coach, it also gives us two weeks for us to work with him.

“We would have liked to have played in the Challenge Cup because it would have meant opportunities for some of our younger players at Ospreys. That is the only down-side to the break but, in what is a difficult season given the volume of games week-after-week, it’s probably just what we need going into a tough bloc.


“Of course, that’s without even talking about COVID. It’s at its worst now, worse than it has ever been. The health and safety of everyone is the most important thing and so this break has probably come at a good time.”

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