Harlequins’ Dave Ward could be set for an unsettling few weeks as the financial crisis enveloping Championship club Carnegie has potentially thrown into doubt his planned summer move to the Yorkshire outfit.
The Rugby Paper are reporting that the second tier strugglers are facing swingeing cutbacks after investor Jon Wright withdrew his promise of a £3.3million budget for next season for reasons that remain unclear.
Ward was one of eight senior players already contracted for next season. Despite having a deal at Harlequins that would have taken him through to summer 2020, the 33-year-old decided to knock that option on the head and instead take up an offer at Carnegie that would not only continue his playing career but also give him his first steps on the coaching ladder.
Faced with the threat of possible relegation from the Championship following a terrible start to this season, Carnegie managed to muster together enough finance to allow director of rugby Chris Sterling, whose own future is now uncertain, recruit mid-campaign.
That influx led to the strong revival that now sees them moving into sixth position following Sunday’s win over Doncaster. However, with the financial outlook again uncertain amid speculation that Carnegie’s budget might only be a third of the initially promised £3.3m, Ward’s planned arrival could become a casualty along with the club’s famed academy set-up.
— Andy Goode (@AndyGoode10) December 29, 2018
Seventeen of the club’s young recruits have played age-grade internationals for England or Scotland in the last four years, among them Dan Lancaster, son of Stuart, who represented the Scots. But that conveyor belt could be halted amid the feared budgetary cuts.
Ward made headines earlier this season following a situation with Wasps’ Thomas Young which sparked a Twitter spat involving Goode, the former England international who is now a RugbyPass columnist.
Goode branded the Harlequins hooker a coward following the 12th minute incident he was yellow-carded for in front of a packed Twickenham.
“Pretty conclusive pictures here of Dave Ward spitting directly at Thomas Young whilst looking at him before his premeditated trample on his ankle. Absolute coward,” write Goode in a tweet where he also tagged Ward.
Former England skipper Chris Robshaw took exception to Goode’s targeting of Ward. “You’re entitled to your opinion, but to @ him the way you have because of your own personal agenda isn’t play on,” he tweeted in reply.
WATCH: Episode 1 of the new RugbyPass documentary series on the Leicester Tigers’ academy
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.