DIRECTOR of rugby Alan Solomons had no regrets over the quadruple change that preceded Warriors letting slip a 15-point lead to lose 33-27 at home to Castres.

The French side left Sixways as group winners thanks to a second-half fightback that sent Worcester crashing out of the European Challenge Cup despite having been on the edge of qualification for the quarter-finals.

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Tries from Jamie Shillcock, Marco Mama and Michael Heaney had the hosts within one try of the bonus point they needed alongside a win to seal their spot.

However, Castres hit back within seconds of Matt Moulds, Nick Schonert, Graham Kitchener and Heaney leaving the pitch and could not turn the tide from there.

But Solomons explained the move had been planned with one eye on a return to Premiership action against Wasps in a week's time.

“I thought it was imperative to get everyone some decent game time and that’s what we endeavoured to do,” said Solomons

“One would have thought we were in a good position at 27-12, they are good players and should have been able to cope.

“Everyone got a fair crack and a fair amount of game time and I learned a lot.

“It was very important to us to get people game time, having said that we sat there with a 27-12 lead and allowed that to slip away which was disappointing.

“One mitigating factor was the yellow card (for GJ van Velze), that made a difference and they scored two tries but credit to them, I thought Rory Kockott controlled the game well and gave them field position.

“They have a big, heavy forward pack and they used that effectively, particularly in the maul. On the night, in the second half, they played better than we did.

“It was very difficult. Firstly you have to give credit to your opposition, I thought we played really well in the first half and they played well in the second.

“They dominated field position and we were unable to deal with their power game, we struggled as they mauled really effectively and they were very powerful close to the line.”

Meanwhile, Solomons admitted the open way Castres started the game had taken him by surprise, even if reverting to type ended up paying dividends for the visitors.

“They played a lot more than I thought they would,” he said.

“I was surprised, if you look at the first five minutes of the game they were stuck in their 22 and they kept moving the ball without kicking it. That was most unusual and completely contrary to the way they played when we went to France.

“In the second they played field position a lot more, used the maul more effectively and Kockott used the boot to keep us penned in and bring the huge pack of forwards and once we lost a player, the momentum swung completely.

“I felt we had been well on top and were looking comfortable but unfortunately we were not able to hold that.

“On the day there was a momentum shift and we were unable to swing the game back. To play against a team with that power with 14 men is not easy.”