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Intervention could yet foil 'absolutely disgusting' move to erase Worcester

By Chris Jones
Worcester Warriors looks dejected in their team huddle after the Premiership Rugby Cup Fourth Round match between Wasps and Worcester Warriors at Ricoh Arena on October 12, 2019 in Coventry, England. (Photo by Morgan Harlow/Getty Images)

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is reportedly in talks with the Rugby Football Union to block the sale of Worcester Warriors to the Atlas consortium who plan to disband the current club and erase its name from the sport.


The Atlas plan involves creating ‘Sixways Rugby’ funding Stourbridge RFC who will play at Sixways Stadium in National League 2 West with the aim of moving up to Championship level by 2026.

However, the fate of the former Premiership club continues to be mired in controversy with City AM reporting the DCMS and the RFU are meeting today. The DCMS is expected to lobby against Worcester’s administrators Begbies Traynor selling the club to a bid that has not passed the RFU’s fit and proper tests.

Atlas, headed by Jim O’Toole and James Sandford, have not passed the RFU’s conditions and commercial restriction tests, which are understood to be related to the sale and use of land surrounding the club. Now, Atlas have revealed they are going to kill off Warriors leaving the creditors without payment and the club supporters without a team. They intend to move Stourbridge into the Sixways stadium.

Former players and supporters have taken to social media to express their anger at this dramatic turn of events. Ex-player Matt Garvey tweeting: “Absolutely gutted to read about Worcester Warriors. Not sure how this has been allowed to happen. Fingers crossed it’s not too late for some common sense to intervene. The community and supporters deserve more than this.”

Former Warriors team manager Luke Broadley said: “Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting. What we feared has come true Worcester Warriors is no more and never will be. This process means no rugby creditor will be paid what they are owed. People have a lot to answer for.”

Northampton prop Ethan Waller, who played for Worcester, said: “Brutal to read the news about Worcester Warriors. I loved my time there and made some lifelong friendships – not to mention some unbelievable memories. The shirt on the wall means that little bit more now.”


Veteran rugby writer Peter Jackson said: “So Worcester RFC, founded in 1871 and renamed Worcester Warriors almost 50 years ago, has been wiped off the face of the rugby map. What an unholy mess. Cecil Duckworth, whose money made the Warriors, will be spinning in his grave. Sixways Rugby? What kind of name is that?”


Stourbridge, who will hold a special general meeting to vote on the move, are bottom of National League 2 West with one win in 18 and are 13 points adrift from 13th place.

The RFU issued a statement following the Atlas announcement stating: “The RFU has been clear that its priority was to enable Worcester Warriors to play in the Championship and Worcester Warriors Women in the Premier 15s in a sustainable way.

“The information required has been asked for repeatedly and deadlines were extended to provide the best possible chance for this to happen. The RFU will now consult with the local rugby community over the proposed relocation of Stourbridge RFC and the change of name. Our priority is to ensure the best interests of rugby and the rugby community are preserved.


“The RFU maintains its commitment to running the Midlands academy which it took over in November and the continuation of Worcester Warriors Women”.


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Jon 10 minutes ago
How Maro Itoje terrorised the All Blacks lineout

Yeah England were much smarter, they put their much vaster experience to use in both the scrum (bending/not taking hit) and lineout (Itoje early sacks) law vagaries. Really though, I know what is there, I’m more worried about Englands locks. We only got to see Itoje and Martin, right? Depth allround in the England camp was probably the difference in the series and the drop off when Itoje reached his minutes limit for the season (it was like the plug was pulled from the charger) was up their with keeping Sexton on the park in that quarter final. What happened there? You have a lot of watching hours experience with locks come blindsides Nick, especially with a typical Australian player make up, have you see a six the size of Barrett absolutely dominate the position and his opposition? I can easily see Scott, and even Martin for that matter, moving to the blindside and playing like Tadgh Beirne with the amount of top locks we have coming through to partner Patrick. Still with the English mindset, because despite running the best All Black team I’ve seen in a long time close, they do need to find improvement, and although I thought they had a lot of good performances from their 7’s, I really like the prospect of Cunningham-South in his 8 spot and Earl on the open. Can you see Martin as mobile enough to take over Lawes? I absolutely loved his aggression when Jordie ran upto him to try and grab the ball. That alone is enough reason for me to try him there.

9 Go to comments
sean 2 hours ago
The bite don't match the bark

Yeah, he has a few good points… I disagree that our 7s haven't done anything, we won Bronze in 2016, and we were virtually unplayable to the backend of the “teens” winning the series. 7s is far more competitive globally than Union, so it's fair to say we haven't dominated, but we are almost always contenders. But I do agree that our national side doesn't perform nearly as well as it should between World Cups, and I do agree that our supporters can be too passionate and the opitimity of what Rugby stands against. I have said so many times. And I also believe some context needs to be taken into account with Saturday's win for Ireland. They're a really good team! Settled coaching staff, and bar a few legends retiring, they've had a full season and plenty of time together. We have some youngsters being groomed for the future, have played only 3 games now under a new coaching team with new philosophies and game plans. I'm excited by what the future of this team holds, as much as I am disappointed by the result. But unlike this article suggests, I am never going to take away from what Ireland has achieved, is achieving, and where they're heading. As a Rugby fan, I love the tight games, like the last two weekends. As a Bok Super Fan, I agree we don't perform as well as we should. And as an aside, you come play a game at 7am on our fields, bud. -2°c and frost on the field that is as hard as concrete…. Then we’ll see just how tough you are. Well done Ireland! They played well, and gave our boys a lot to think about. That's what you want from the top two teams in the world. Rugby won. The fans of this greatbsport won. A'n bullshit like this article is why Rugby is losing its identity. I don't like soccer. This article perpetuates the soccer influences the game of Rugby is starting to see. It's why Wayne Barnes retired, feared for his family, and he isn't the only ref to say so. I have called out many Bok fans for being an embarrassment to the game, and I will continue to do so., this article is close to the same bullshit. You should be better.

45 Go to comments
FEATURE Mick Cleary: 'There is now a clear sense of identity about this England team.' Mick Cleary: 'There is now a clear sense of identity about this England team.'