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Welsh rugby enveloped in its latest existential crisis

As Wayne Pivac teeters on the edge of finding new gainful employment after a series of disappointing results, the wider-lens story tells of dysfunction and frustration

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Worcester latest: 'We have been told the game is going ahead'

(Photo by PA)

Declan Kidney says London Irish have been assured that Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership clash against crisis club Worcester will go ahead as planned. The Warriors head to Brentford with the club wracked by uncertainty about its future. HM Revenue and Customs has frozen Worcester’s finances in its pursuit of unpaid tax, although it is understood that Warriors’ players have now been paid following an initial delay.


Premiership Rugby cleared Worcester to begin their league campaign on time and talks are ongoing with possible buyers for the club. Four Worcestershire MPs – Robin Walker, Harriett Baldwin, Rachel Maclean and Mark Garnier – on Monday called for Warriors to be placed in administration.

The Worcester co-owners, Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham, hit back, though, stating: “We are disappointed to read the statement made by four local MPs which calls for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to force Worcester Warriors into administration.

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“We would like to make it clear that we have kept the DCMS fully informed about the financial situation at Worcester Warriors. The DCMS knows that three sets of buyers are in discussions with us. All the deals being considered would avoid the club going into administration.”

Amid the chaos, Worcester rugby director Steve Diamond has to prepare his players for a Premiership opener following no pre-season games. Irish boss Kidney, meanwhile, confirmed that the Exiles had sought assurances, which have been given, of Saturday’s encounter taking place on schedule.


“On the human side, I’m sure it has been unbelievably stressful for everybody working there,” Irish Kidney said of Worcester’s situation. “On the financial side, the people who have that responsibility have to do what they have to do, and the rest in the middle need to get on with the game and we have been told the game is going ahead.”


Asked if there was a more dangerous team than one whose players had not been paid, Kidney added: “On a sporting front, absolutely not. People talk about getting their team up for a game, and when that happens naturally and you don’t have to say a word, they are always the most dangerous ones.

“I understand there are other bigger issues concerning Worcester. Will they be highly motivated? It is human nature. There are probably easier fixtures out there to start off with. They have too many good players, too much to play for.

“When it comes down to a pure rugby match, you can actually use those things in your favour, and there is no better man to get them using them than Steve. They have British and Irish Lions players in their ranks, England players. I have no doubt that Worcester as a rugby club will be as competitive as ever.

“If we don’t get a result on Saturday, it’s not because we have taken this in any way lightly. They will be very strong and very well organised. There is no point talking Worcester up or down, it is just about us getting ourselves right.”



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RUGBYPASS+ Welsh rugby enveloped in its latest existential crisis Welsh rugby enveloped in its latest existential crisis