After watching his side turn in one of their best displays of the season but slide closer to relegation, Worcester director of rugby John Brain says his team are favourites to drop out of the Premiership.
The Sixways outfit gave a bright account of themselves in Saturday’s 33-19 loss to Gloucester but failure to take even a bonus point, combined with Northampton’s unlikely victory at Leicester, means Warriors’ three-season stay in the top flight will surely come to an end in a couple of months time.
They are seven points adrift of the Saints, who have seven games remaining as opposed to Worcester’s six, and look destined to return to National One. "The outlook is pretty bleak," Brain said. "Clearly we have got to be favourites to be relegated.
"The worrying thing is that if Gloucester play like that against Northampton next week they will lose."
That outcome would leave Worcester with virtually no hope of escaping.
Brain went on to lament a campaign in which his side have suffered with injuries to senior players and for the first time experience the dubious pleasure of receiving international call-ups.
All of which has taken its toll on the coaching and playing staff. "This season has been the toughest of all our careers and there is no respite," Brain said.
"I can't remember the last time we got a break in a game. If we had got Thinus’ try on the scoreboard I think that would have been the first one I can remember since September 2," he said in reference to Thinus Delport’s disallowed effort that would have sent the visitors into the break with a lead.
"I'm not blaming luck for our predicament. The fact is we've lost too many games but I don’t think anyone who supports Worcester would be ashamed of their team after that display. They should be proud.
"For a supposedly sterile attacking team we didn’t look too bad, our set-piece work in the second half was outstanding and we scored a lovely try.
"If we play like we did against Gloucester when we meet Bath we can beat them."