INFLUENTIAL centre Ryan Mills has been given a “break” from captaincy duties at Worcester Warriors to “focus on his own game”.

Director of rugby Alan Solomons felt Mills had been taking “a lot of responsibility on his own shoulders” as one of the club’s leaders.

But Solomons said he now wanted the 27-year-old to focus all his attention on getting back to the top of his game.

Mills who has stepped up to skipper Warriors occasions in place of club captain Gerrit-Jan van Velze overcame a hamstring problem to face former club Gloucester on Friday.

But Solomons opted to hand hooker Matt Moulds, a summer signing from Blues, the captaincy on his first start in the Gallagher Premiership.

Speaking after Warriors’ 36-3 thrashing by Gloucester, Solomons said: “It gave Millsy a break from the leadership as he has been taking a lot of responsibility on his own shoulders.

“Mouldsy has also captained sides for a long time in New Zealand.

“But the captaincy had nothing to do with Friday’s game.”

Mills who is contracted until the end of the 2020-21 campaign has been an integral part of Warriors’ side for several seasons, recently making his 100th appearance.

But the inside centre was dropped to the bench for last month’s clash with Sale Sharks and his sin-binning against Gloucester proved costly for Worcester.

“(This break from the captaincy) gives him an opportunity to focus on his own game,” Solomons said.

“He has also just come back from an injury.

“He wears his heart on his sleeve. Unfortunately he got that card, but he certainly gave absolutely everything.”

Moulds produced a man-of-the-match performance at Kingsholm before being replaced by Joe Taufete’e with Warriors trailing 10-3 at that stage.

“Mouldsy did well,” Solomons said.

“I am not blaming anybody, but he was off the field in the last 20 minutes as we had to make the changes.

“We were under pressure for the first 60 minutes and that eventually told in the back 20.”

Moulds, who was coming in for the injured Niall Annett, said he was delighted be part of Solomons’ “future plans” after being given the nod to lead the team out.

“It was pretty special to be asked to captain the side,” Moulds said.

“I don’t take it lightly, so I really wanted to do well. I loved it.

“When Solly called me when I was in New Zealand he said he saw me in a leadership role at some point.

“A couple of boys got injured, so I am stoked to be amongst his future plans.

“I would like to say I lead by my actions because I think that speaks more than words so that is what I would like to do if I carry on as captain.”

Moulds’ first outing as skipper ended in disappointment though as Gloucester stormed to victory with five unanswered tries.

And the 27-year-old reckoned Warriors’ failure to control the “middle area of the field” was key to the result.

“We talked about starting well and we did that,” Moulds said.

“We fought really hard to stay ahead for a long time with a couple of (Gloucester) tries being disallowed.

“I thought the heart the boys showed in defence was unreal. We certainly pride ourselves on that and we kept ourselves in the game without a lot of territory.

“But we made a lot of our errors and were ill-disciplined.

“We probably didn’t control the middle area of the field as well as we would have liked to, so that is something we will look to fix.”