Richard Hill’s reputation as someone with little respect for reputations was clear for all to see at Sixways last Saturday as he restricted five internationals to bench duty.
The most high profile amongst them was the man brought in to answer every Warriors fan’s dreams, Andy Goode, the world-class fly-half whose presence at Sixways is something of a painful irony.
Worcester have lacked a dependable playmaker ever since they reached the Premiership in 2004 yet just a few weeks after they finally found one, they were relegated out of it.
As a result Goode, who wore the Red Rose as recently as last November, began his Worcester career in the Championship last Saturday. And he had to wait nearly an hour to do that.
He insisted he did not mind watching youngster Joe Carlisle start against Birmingham & Solihull. “It was not a surprise at all,” the 30-year-old said.
“I have not done a massive amount of pre-season. I ended up in hospital for a week and had septicaemia and ended up with an elbow operation so missed two or three weeks with that. I have only just got fit. The Scarlets game was my first one.”
Clearly the former Leicester, Brive and Sharks fly-half has not been brought in as a back-up. His late return to fitness was probably not as much a factor as Hill’s long-term selection policy.
The head coach has openly said he will wait to settle on a regular first XV until the all-important promotion play-offs next spring.
Which means Goode and all his decorated brethren will be rotated throughout all 22 regular season matches.
“The idea is to keep everyone fresh for going into the play-offs,” he said. “It is going to require some buy-in from the boys but it is a squad game now.
“I have played in teams at Leicester where we have not rotated the team at all, gone into the play-offs fairly knackered and lost in the final where he played a team that has rotated a lot and been fresh.
“We have a squad of about 32 players that will rotate – that’s good because not only does it keep everyone on their toes, it keeps players fresh and allows them to develop their fitness, strength and speed all the way through the season.”