By Paul Morgan, editor of Rugby World Magazine
If you want to see how to build a rugby club from practically nothing. How to transform a sports team from also rans into one that the whole country can be proud of then get along to Sixways this season and be amazed at what Worcester have built. And you’ll get a great welcome to boot.
Only a few years ago Worcester were playing in the regional leagues but now they are established as one of the mainstays of the Guinness Premiership and have a ground that any side in the top flight will be proud of. No ground shares with football teams for these boys – they built a stadium and a magnificent one at that.
In the Premiership we talk about the effect the fans at places like Bath and Leicester but at Worcester the fans can comfortably put four points in their pockets after this 24-18 win against Sale.
In the second half Sale pinned Worcester back in their own 22 for large parts of the match only for the Worcester defence to hold firm time and time again. The players did the tackling, of course, but it was the crowd who lifted them up by their boot straps time and time again. Even time the wave of Sale players advance the roared went up and the words ‘Come on your Warriors’ was ringing in my ears.
And if you do go there season and I can recommend it, don’t plan on leaving at the final whistle as you will miss the legendary hospitality in the main bar!
On the pitch I was impressed by a number of performances
Tom Wood – The 22-year-old blindside was simply outstanding and at the centre of the huge defensive effort. England coach Graham Rowntree was in the crowd and must have caught his eye
Matt Mullen – One that is capable of winning England honours soon. If he stays fit a place on the bench in the Six Nations is well within his grasp.
Mathew Tait – If he doesn’t earn 60 caps for England in his career then the coaches at the RFU will have failed. The lad has talent to burn – focus on what he can do, rather than what he can’t.
Richard Wigglesworth – The scrum-half of the Brian Ashton era and you could see why today as he ran the show for the Sharks. It is a hugely competitive position for England, but he deserves another look
I would be delighted to hear what you thought if you were at the game or even if you weren’t!