Grove in the groove for Worcester
February 28, 2009
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Worcester coach Mike Ruddock described centre Alex Grove's first Premiership start as "a dream debut" after the youngster scored the only try of the match in the 13-12 win over London Wasps at Sixways.
Grove intercepted a flick-pass from Mark van Gisbergen and also featured prominently in an outstanding defensive display by Worcester, including an crunching tackle on Josh Lewsey.
"His man-of-the-match award was thoroughly deserved," Ruddock said. "Alex made breaks, he tackled really well and his tackle early on against Josh Lewsey really lifted our team; we thought if a youngster could do that to an international we all had to get behind that effort and tackle that way. "It was a critical moment for us and people really followed suit from there on. He got a try and it was a dream debut for another youngster from our academy coming through and doing well."
Grove, 21, is the grandson of former West Brom football manager Ron Wylie who was in the 9,543 crowd. "I was nervous last night and this morning and that tackle on Josh was probably the best way to overcome it," Grove said.
Wasps have never won at Sixways and their latest defeat came without director of rugby Ian McGeechan and head coach Shaun Edwards, who were unable to travel back from Paris, where they had watched France's Six Nations win over Wales on Friday evening, because of what a club spokesman described as "logistical difficulties". That left assistant coach Leon Holden and part-time coach Tony Hanks to form a makeshift staff.
"If they could have got here it would have been a nice bonus," Holden said. "Everything was explored and everything was tried. "If we had won no-one would have been asking why they were not here. We have had situations before with coaches not being here. Our preparation was the best it has been all season so we can't use that as an excuse."
Hanks also played down suggestions that Wasps' arrival at Sixways barely 45 minutes before kick-off was down to further travel problems. "We got here about 50 minutes before kick-off as planned so nothing went wrong with our trip down and preparation," he said. "In the first half we played some great rugby but failed to capitalise on some of the opportunities we created."