If Worcester’s first season back in the Premiership was all about building a fail-safe defence, Richard Hill accepts the second has to see the development of reliable attack.
Warriors were the lowest try scorers in the top flight last season and at times watching them try to advance the ball downfield conjured an image of an arthritic crab attempting to wield the pincers that were Miles Benjamin and Marcel Garvey.
When they managed to do so, Worcester looked moderately threatening but more often than not they would either run out of ideas or cohesion and end up self-harming.
For Hill’s measured progress at Sixways to continue the crabbing must be banished and the prevailing direction must be forward instead of sideways.
But the wily head coach is not falling into the trap of confusing more offensive with more expansive, going wide is not the same as going ahead.
Which is why he has made the creation of a driving maul and recruitment of heavy ball carriers his summer’s work.
“We haven’t had a really effective maul, probably since John Brain was here,” he admitted. “You look at Northampton and Harlequins, who had the best maul last year, if they are in their own third they have the capacity to drive a lineout ten metres.
“You can bet your life someone comes in the side and concedes a penalty and suddenly from being in your own third and kicking the ball to the opposition you have driven a maul, got a penalty and then kicked into the opposition third for an attacking lineout.”
New forwards coach Nigel Redman is the man charged with turning back the clock to Brain’s snarling days when the Worcester pack was among the best and players like Dean Schofield and Semisi Taulava, 300 tonnes apiece, will be key to that process.
And they will also have a big role to play in doing what Webb Ellis intended, picking up the pill and running with it. Tout droit as Schofield would have said in Toulon.
“When you look at the statistics of the top four, why Saracens, Quins, Leicester and Northampton are there, it’s because they have multiple ball carriers,” Hill noted. “They don’t have an over-reliance, like we have perhaps at times on Aleki Lutui and James Percival. Other teams have got eight ball carriers. When South Africa had even more when they were on form and then even more off the bench.”
Hill also sees new centres Josh Matavesi and Jon Clarke as vital to hauling Warriors up-field. Nikki Walker can expect to spend as much time coming off his wing as he does hogging it and David Lemi will be indulged, to find the fatties in midfield, isolate and speed by them.
The whole thing will be underpinned by Mathieu Rourre, the attack consultant, a man, Hill insists, should not be considered guilty by association with Biarritz’s ultra-conservative game-plan. French academy guru Rourre, after all, has been brought in to do the same job for Biarritz he must do at Sixways if Warriors are ever to escape the bottom of the table.