DIRECTOR of rugby Dean Ryan admits he was happy with the physicality of his Worcester Warriors against Sale Sharks despite being edged out in a close encounter.

Warriors were narrowly defeated 22-16 against a strong Sale side in their second pre-season clash.

But with youngsters such as Val Rapava-Ruskin, Mike Daniels and Christian Scotland-Williamson fronting up against their more experienced opponents, Ryan says it was a match of positives at the AJ Bell Stadium.

He said: “We brought a very young group up here knowing that Sale were going to use this as the main springboard into their Premiership season.

“We had five or six players around the age of 20 competing against a fully loaded European side and I thought we stayed in the contest very well.

“They were a little more clinical than us but physically I thought we did very well. We played them five times last year and not once did we balance out physically like we did on Saturday.

“It will give us a platform to grow. We’ve got one more pre-season match against Premiership opposition and we’ve got four or five decent players to come into this side.

“I’m really pleased that we’ve had a good look at everyone.”

Warriors complete their pre-season programme against Exeter Chiefs at Sixways on Friday.

They begin their Greene King IPA Championship season at Bristol on Sunday, September 7.