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The car park call that has Gloucester hopeful Worcester will turn up

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)

Gloucester boss George Skivington is hopeful that a request from Worcester for car parking spaces to be reserved at Kingsholm is a positive sign that Wednesday night’s Premiership Rugby Cup match will go ahead as planned – even though the Warriors have still not named their team.

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Teams for the Wednesday matches in the tournament were due to be announced after midday on Tuesday but as of 4pm there was still no word yet on what exactly will be playing for Worcester, who tweeted: “We can confirm that tomorrow’s match will take place at Kingsholm. Team details are still TBC.”

Hosting his afternoon media briefing after unveiling a Gloucester team that includes the fit-again Jake Polledri for a competitive match after his 22 months out with injury, Skivington admitted that communication from Worcester was limited but he was hopeful that the midweek fixture wouldn’t become the second Gloucester-Worcester match to be called off in the last six months.

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It was only last March when a Gallagher Premiership game between the two clubs was cancelled at Kingsholm, a call-off that Worcester were blamed for following a Sports Resolutions investigation. Since then, the problems have only mounted at the Sixways club and they arrived into the 2022/23 season hampered by a cash crisis that resulted in the delay in payment of salaries and fears they won’t be able to continue their campaign.

“We have planned for them to come,” said Skivington at his 2:45pm Gloucester media briefing, 31 hours before the scheduled kick-off time on Wednesday. “We have just done a team run with the Prem Cup team so we are good to go and are looking forward to the game. Away from that, I don’t know anything about the circumstances. We will wait and see if a (Worcester) team gets announced but from our side, we are ready to go and are all prepared.

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“I know their team manager contacted our team manager to get the car parking places in place today and that is as much as I know, so when I heard that I thought, ‘Right, we’re good to go’. So from that point of view, I am taking it positively. My job is to get the team ready on the field. There are obviously behind-the-scenes parts to my role but my overriding job is to make sure the team is ready to play.

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“That is all I am focusing on with this group, make sure they are ready to go and if things change they change, but all the signs I have seen this morning – which isn’t many except the one I just told you – is that we have got a game.

“I am not the financial man here but if you lose a home fixture, it was massive for us last year financially. This is a Prem Cup game but we are expecting a decent crowd and again there is lots of money spent on getting the game on and there are lots of people that have paid money to come and lots of expenses that go with it.

“It would be pretty upsetting from that side of things if we lost another game. But as I say I am not the money man so I wouldn’t know exactly what the figures are but no game getting cancelled late is ever good for any rugby team.”

Asked if he had sympathy for Worcester about what was happening at that club, Skivington added: “I don’t think anyone wants to see Worcester disappear or anything like that. It is a good club, it’s a good place to go and play rugby, it is a good facility.

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“I have got full sympathy for all the staff and players, everybody at the club because it is a horrendous thing they are having to go through now not getting paid or paid partially and probably more than that the uncertainty of their futures is something that shouldn’t really be happening and is not fair. Absolutely they have got my full sympathy for everyone who is involved in it.”

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