Van Velze : New signings can help Worcester topple Saracens

GJ Van Velze has re-signed with Worcester Warriors

Worcester Warriors Aviva Premiership captain GJ van Velze believes that their recruitment of players in the summer who have been there and done it before bodes well for their chances at the London Double Header.

Worcester have the unenviable task of trying to beat Saracens at Twickenham but they have already shown that the big games can draw out their best performances.

First up on 28 November, Worcester will face Saracens, who lifted the Aviva Premiership Rugby title at the same stadium back in May then an ever-improving Wasps will meet Tom Coventry’s London Irish.

It’s unlikely however that Warriors will suffer from any pre-match jitters after showing the nation exactly what they could do in the opening game of the season.

Warriors overcame perennial play-off challengers Northampton Saints – who beat Saracens at Twickenham to clinch the trophy two years ago – to get their 2015-16 Aviva Premiership Rugby campaign off to a flying start.

And with the likes of Ireland legend Donncha O’Callaghan and veteran back-rower Phil Dowson at their disposal, van Velze says there is no reason why they can’t take another big scalp.

“We’ve kept the core group of players who we believe have the values and the attributes to be successful at Aviva Premiership Rugby level, then we’ve added a few faces where we have identified where we needed some new personalities,” said van Velze.

“If you look at a signing like Donncha O’Callaghan and the experience he brings to the party, these guys are going to be huge for us throughout the season and we’ve got exciting times still to come.

The club will be treading into uncharted territory at the London Double Header, having never participated at the event before and Twickenham will be the perfect showcase to show just how far Warriors have come under director of rugby Dean Ryan over the last two years – though van Velze says his side have only just scratched the surface.

“We’re in a long process to make Worcester a very successful club, and we know that’s not going to happen overnight,” he added.

“There was a lot of work done last year on that and we need to keep progressing throughout this year too.”

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