The true impact of Dean Ryan’s departure from Worcester won’t be known until the club’s season is under way in earnest, admits Warriors flanker Phil Dowson.
But Dowson says a core of senior players at Worcester are helping to fill the gap created by the director of rugby’s sudden departure at the end of June.
GUIDING HAND: Phil Dowson acknowledges he has an important leadership role to fulfil at Sixways this coming season
Thirty-four-year-old Dowson says he, Chris Pennell, Donncha O’Callaghan and club captain GJ van Velze – who will skipper the side again for the 2016-17 campaign – held talks after Ryan’s exit to help ensure the transition to a post-Ryan regime was as smooth as possible for the wider squad.
“It’s sad to see Dean go and a lot of the players feel the same way in terms of his expertise and what he brought to the club but at the same time with the group of coaches we’ve got and the group of senior players it hasn’t actually been massively disruptive,” Dowson said.
“A lot of it has to be driven by the senior players – the decisions on the pitch and the culture.
“Dean leaving is a big loss and we won’t necessarily know how much of a loss until the games start.
“We get on well enough within the senior group to have been able to talk about the implications of Dean leaving and how best to cope with it.
“The rest of the boys have taken it all in their stride and it’s not really upset the apple cart.
“If something like this is going to happen then the best time for it to happen is probably during the off-season when the guys have time to get over the idea and have a whole run up to get used to somebody else.”
Head coach Carl Hogg and high performance director Nick Johnston now form the Warriors’ senior management team, with Sam Vesty and Mefin Davies working with the first-team backs and forwards respectively.
“Whoever is sitting in that head office, my job as a flanker doesn’t change and the same goes for the scrum-half, the fly-half, for everyone,” said Dowson.
“The structure of the week might change a bit but fundamentally our jobs remain the same. The guys have dealt with it pretty well.”