HARTPURY boss John Barnes claims their opening pre-season friendly against Worcester Warriors will be “one of the hardest games” the Championship side play this season.

Barnes suggests that playing a higher-ranked team is vital in the build-up to a new season.

“It’s likely to be one of the hardest games we’ll play all season,” he said.

“We’ve done it with Ealing Trailfinders in the past few years but now we are at this level it is great to be able to have this fixture with Worcester.”

Hartpury have risen through the leagues, winning the 2016-17 National Division One with a 100 per cent winning record.

This season they expect big things but have a tough test against the Premiership side at Sixways tomorrow (4pm).

This will be the first time the Gloucestershire side have ever faced a Premiership club.

“It will be a big challenge,” said Barnes.

“Like any pre-season game we are looking for people to perform well and produce what we have been working on for the past few weeks."

Warriors were promoted into the top flight from the Championship in 2015 but former Hartpury College player Ryan Mills is injured.

The Championship side will have two players who are fully familiar with Sixways, ex-Warriors Mat Gilbert and Mike Daniels.

But Daniels will not be fit for the game tomorrow after a minor operation.