“RYAN both excites and frustrates the hell out of me,” said Dean Ryan after watching his play-maker lead Warriors to an exciting derby victory over their former club Gloucester.
The Worcester director of rugby had a tempestuous relationship with a youthful Lamb when they were both at Kingsholm, but Ryan insists he loves working with the talented 10.
Since joining the club mid-season from Leicester, Lamb has blown hot and cold, but he produced a man-of-the-match display in Saturday’s 28-27 triumph to give Worcester fans a taste of what’s to come.
Warriors chief Ryan said: “I’ve known Ryan for 10 years now and he both excites and frustrates the hell out of me. I don’t think I’ve ever known a game where it’s been one or the other, it’s always been both.
“That’s why I like working with him though – he’s a real talent and he’s been a catalyst for us since he’s come in.
“I know a few people raised their eyebrows when I signed Ryan because they thought our relationship was broken, but that was never the case.
“It’s frustrating sometimes, but I love coaching him and I love someone who is prepared to put themselves out there when things aren’t going well.
“He’s not kicked well, but found it was time to stick one over from the side of the pitch and he likes that pressure. It was always going to be difficult for him to come in mid-season not having played a lot at Leicester.
“I’ve got a lot of time for Ryan and I always have, wherever he’s played, because I like coaching talented players.”
Prior to Gloucester’s visit, Ryan insisted to his players that they must take the game seriously and he was happy with their response.
He added: “It was very important that we signed off in the right way and repaid our fans after being relegated last week.
“The stadium was packed and that just shows the support base that is here and we have talked a lot about how important it is to build on that and, as a club, it’s something we haven’t done well in the past.”
“It’s a shame we’re not in the Premiership next year, but that is not an opportunity for us to drop our standards.
“Next year is going to be a big challenge to maintain those when the opposition isn’t the likes of Leicester or Gloucester.
“It was a local derby – I’ve been involved in them before and I think I lost my job when Worcester beat Gloucester!
“I recognise the significance of a local derby because it gives our fans the bragging rights – in fact, probably for about two years – that’s the best way to look at it! It was a full-on credible game, not a sevens-style end-of-season game with nothing to play for.
“We were insistent we wouldn’t allow it to be that – albeit at 17-3 down it would have been good to have started a bit sooner!”
Ryan continued: ““Let’s not pretend everything is alright now, there are still a lot of things to address, but when you look at this club and think that if we can get it right in the future, then this place gets exciting.
“We have to get the rugby right first – it’s not about having a big stadium and great facilities. This is only a place that’s ready to go when we get everything properly right.
“That’s why I came back to the game, though, and I’m not sure I would have gone back anywhere else.”