Worcester Warriors

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Worcester Warriors RFC
Worcester Warriors logo.svg
Full nameWorcester Warriors Rugby Football Club
UnionNorth Midlands RFU
Founded1871; 148 years ago (1871)
LocationWorcester, Worcestershire, England
Ground(s)Sixways Stadium (Capacity: 11,499)
PresidentCecil Duckworth CBE
Director of RugbyAlan Solomons
Coach(es)Rory Duncan
Most capsCraig Gillies (288)
Top scorerShane Drahm (726)
Most triesNick Baxter (88)[1]
League(s)English Premiership
1st kit
2nd kit
Official website

Worcester Warriors Rugby Football Club are an English rugby union club, playing in the English Premiership. Warriors also compete in the Premiership Rugby Cup, European Challenge Cup, and Premiership Rugby Shield competitions. Their home ground is Sixways Stadium, and the team colours are gold and blue.



The club was founded in 1871 by the Reverend Francis John Ede, with the first known game played against the Royal Artillery Rugby Club on 8 November 1871.[2] This game was played on Pitchcroft.[3] The club began playing at Bevere in Worcester in 1954 and left Bevere for Sixways in 1975 when the clubhouse was opened. When the league system was formed, the club was placed in North Midlands Division One, a level eight league.


Due to extensive support from their backer Cecil Duckworth, the club were able to build a strong team, with promotion after promotion following. In 2006, extremely ambitious plans were announced for a £23 million development programme, which would see a health club with fitness centre and swimming pool, fully tarmacked park and ride area, and expanded capacity, estimated to be 13,000.

Promotion to the Premiership[edit]

The badge used by Worcester Warriors until 2008.

Worcester Warriors were promoted to the (then Zurich) Premiership after winning National Division One in 2003–04 with a perfect record of 26 wins from 26 games, something that had never before been achieved. They were the bookies', and many of the rugby pundits' odds-on-favourites to go straight back down but defied the odds to stay in the Premiership for another season, finishing ninth in the league, after wins against teams including Harlequins, Leeds, a historic victory against Premiership Champions London Wasps and Northampton in a 'winner takes all' end of season finale, which they won 21–19. This match was shown live with more twists and turns off the pitch as well as on it, with then Northampton player, Shane Drahm, who had signed for Worcester eventually starting, and successfully kicking almost everything, after press releases by Northampton stating that he would be a substitute. In the 2004–05 season, despite Premiership survival being their ultimate aim, they reached the final of the defunct European Shield at Oxford's Kassam Stadium, after beating Leeds Tykes in the semi-final. They eventually lost out to the French side Auch. They also managed to achieve a play-off match for the Heineken Cup against Saracens, but their long fight for Premiership survival and an injury-ravaged squad meant that they lost. Their achievements for that season meant that they had achieved much more than they had originally hoped for, as well as earning the respect of the other Premiership sides in the process.

In the 2005–06 season, they reached the quarter–finals of the European Challenge Cup after finishing top of their pool with five wins out of a possible six, above Connacht, Montpellier Hérault and Amatori Catania, and faced an away match against Northampton Saints on April Fool's Day, which they won, in what was described by sports writers as some of the best rugby they have played all season. They reached the semi – finals where they faced Gloucester Rugby in a local derby showdown, it being the third time they had played Gloucester that season, with the European match being played the week after the Premiership match at Kingsholm. Despite playing some thrilling rugby, and looking much more solid as a team than the previous week's Premiership performance, they were knocked out of the competition. The European Challenge Cup was then a much more important competition to Worcester as it offered them a route into the Heineken Cup. In the 2005–06 Guinness Premiership, they avoided relegation and were safe much earlier in the season, which meant that they avoided a repeat of last years relegation battle on the last day of the season. The season culminated in an eighth-place finish in the league on 47 points, one place higher than 2004–05, with the same number of wins (9) but more bonus points and a draw, missing 7th position due to Newcastle Falcons having a better points difference, secured on the last day of the season. This was a huge achievement considering that this is still only their second season in rugby's top flight.

In the 2006–07 season Worcester didn't get off to a very good start and for the majority of the season they were positioned in 12th place, but a good run of form which involved beating some of the top sides in the Premiership, helping them to avoid relegation and send the former Heineken Cup champions Northampton Saints down into National Division One.

Established in the Premiership[edit]

For the 2007–08 season Worcester had brought in several big name players, the best known being the All Black Rico Gear. But they again didn't start off very well in the Premiership and did not record their first victory until after Christmas. While they were struggling in the premiership they were enjoying good success in the European Challenge Cup (ECC), progressing through the group stages. After Christmas their premiership formed picked up and they beat top teams such as Leicester Tigers and Sale Sharks, which subsequently saw them move out of the relegation zone, Leeds Carnegie replacing them. They progressed even further in the ECC and beat off Montpellier Hérault RC in the quarter-final and saw off Newcastle Falcons in the semi-final which set up a final against Bath. Leeds Carnegie could not survive relegation and were relegated well before the end of the season. The final against Bath resulted in a 24–16 defeat in a one-sided game.[4]

In 2008 Worcester pulled off one of their largest signings ever by signing Australian international Chris Latham from the Queensland Reds, for the 2008–09 season on a three-year deal.[5] The season again didn't go the way it was planned but Worcester still progressed in the ECC and pulled off home and away victories over local rivals Gloucester and London Wasps in the league. However the season ended disappointingly (after Worcester suffered a succession of serious injuries), losing in the semi-final of the European Challenge Cup to Bourgoin.

Relegation from the Premiership[edit]

After the disappointment of the 2008–09 Guinness Premiership season, the Warriors made a bright start to the 2009–10 Guinness Premiership season. Either side of a loss to Wasps, they had convincing wins over newly promoted Leeds Carnegie and over Sale Sharks, only their second home win over Sale since they joined the top flight in 2004–05, which was then followed by an unlucky loss at champions Leicester Tigers. A poor spell followed with 10 games without a win. During the winless spell, the club did become the first Premiership team to draw four games in a season and the first team to draw three successive league games. Following this bad spell, the Warriors secured a much needed 13–0 victory over Newcastle at Sixways, before another six consecutive losses. On 25 April, the Warriors were relegated from the Premiership after a 12–10 loss away to Leeds Carnegie, their first relegation in 22 years. They played the 2010–11 season in the Championship with Richard Hill as the new Head Coach, on a 2-year contract and Chris Pennell as the new captain.

Return to the Premiership[edit]

The 2010–11 season saw Worcester win 30 out of 31 games in the Championship, losing the only game to the Cornish Pirates in the main season at Sixways. Worcester were top of the league and top of their stage 2 group. After winning the play-off against Bedford Blues at Sixways and the both legs of the play-off final, Worcester secured promotion to the Premiership for the 2011–12 season.[6] Before the season began, there were local news reports that Worcester Warriors aimed to build a Hilton Hotel on the Sixways site, whilst also building a health and leisure facility and potentially expanding the North Stand.[7] Hill left the Warriors in April 2013 and was replaced by Dean Ryan.[8]

2013 Onwards[edit]

Ryan couldn't keep the Warriors in the league in his first season in charge and the club was once again relegated to England's second tier. However, after releasing a number of older players the Club began a rebuilding phase led by Ryan who recruited young talents unable to get game-time at big clubs.[9] Warriors achieved promotion back to the Premiership at their first attempt, beating Bristol in the playoffs thanks to a last minute Chris Pennell try and Ryan Lamb conversion.[10] The club also managed to win the B&I Cup defeating Doncaster 35-5.[11] Warriors' first season back in the Aviva Premiership during the 2015/16 campaign was a successful one following the redevelopment of the Indoor Training Centre, which became a state-of-the-art High Performance Centre to give Warriors some of the best training facilities in the country.[12] The club also made a number of high-profile signings in Francois Hougaard, Donncha O'Callaghan and Wynand Olivier and finished the season in tenth position after winning seven games.[13] In 2016/17 the club finished 11th after a strong finish to the season under new Director of Rugby Gary Gold. Warriors scored a club record of 56 tries in the league. Gold left Worcester in early 2018 and was replaced as DOR by Alan Solomons who guided Worcester to another 11th-place finish in 2017/18.


Worcester have developed two main rivalries in their recent history with Gloucester and Rotherham.

The rivalry with Rotherham stemmed from the clubs meeting each other numerous times in The Championship between 1998 and 2003. Since Worcester gained promotion to The Championship in 1998 the two clubs were constantly at the top end of the table together, battling for the solitary promotion place. In the four seasons they were both in the league, between 1998 and 2003, Rotherham finished 2nd once and 1st three times, whilst Worcester finished 3rd twice and 2nd twice. Due to both teams consistently doing well in the league and tensions between the two clubs high off the pitch, the games often attracted bigger crowds and greater media interest than usual. The importance of the clashes and the rivalry that developed led to the two clubs being dubbed 'The Celtic and Rangers' of their division.[14]

After two close league games in the 2001–02 season, which saw Worcester win the game at Sixways in September by two points thanks to a Tim Walsh drop goal and Rotherham win the game at Clifton Lane in January by 10 points the Rivalry peaked the following season, 2002–03. Rotherham had won the 2001–02 Championship losing just two games with Worcester finishing 2nd having lost three games. However, Rotherham were denied promotion based on the fact that there stadium, Clifton Lane, was not at the required standard. To rectify this and meet premiership stadium criteria, in time for the 2002/03 season Rotherham moved stadiums to Millmoor and shared it with Rotherham United FC.

The first meeting of the 2002–03 campaign between the two teams came at Millmoor on 23 November. Despite being fairly early on in the season, a big five point win for Rotherham in front of over 4,000 fans, including a sizeable away following from Worcester, was a huge step in Rotherham winning the league and gaining promotion. This encounter was yet again a very heated and physical battle. Worcester were well on top during the first half and went into the interval 13–6 ahead thanks to a Chris Garrard try and some excellent game management from fly half Tim Walsh. However, the second half was a completely different affair and with Worcester's Chris Garrard sent off for a dangerous tackle on Jacob Raulini and Steve Caine sin binned, Rotherham, spurred on by their biggest and most vociferous crowd of the season, scored 32 unanswered points, including four tries to complete a demolition of Worcester.[15]

Despite the big win for Rotherham at Millmoor, Worcester only lost one game until the two teams met again at Sixways in April, winning 12 league games and losing only away to Orrell. This ensured they kept in contact with Rotherham at the top of the table. The game at Sixways was the third last game of the season and, with the sides neck and neck in the league, the winner would almost certainly gain a place in The Premiership. Worcester had gone 20 games and 18 months since their last home loss, which was to Rotherham in September 2001.[16] The game was the first Championship match to be broadcast live on Sky Sports and the game also saw the record attendance for a Championship game, with temporary stands constructed to ensure 5,700 fans could watch. Rotherham brought a 1,000 strong contingent, almost all of whom were sat in the North Stand at Sixways, in what was virtual segregation. The first half of the game was extremely tense, with Rotherham leading 9–3 at half time. However the second half saw Rotherham score two tries in 10 minutes which put the game out of Worcester's reach. Rotherham went on to win the game 21–9, which spark wild celebrations and a pitch invasion from the Rotherham fans.[14]

Rotherham are often considered as Worcester's rivals by those fans who watched Worcester before 2004. However, because Worcester's average attendances have more than doubled since then, a large percentage of the Worcester fan base, many of them newer supporters, see Gloucester as Worcester's main rivals. This is predominantly because of playing them regularly since gaining promotion to The Premiership in 2004, the geographical closeness of the two Cities and various media sources citing the game as a derby.[17]

Current standings[edit]

2018–19 Premiership Rugby Table view · watch · edit · discuss
Club Played Won Drawn Lost Points for Points against Points diff Tries for Tries against Try bonus Losing bonus Points
1 Exeter Chiefs 19 15 0 4 566 364 202 79 41 13 4 77
2 Saracens 19 14 0 5 546 388 158 67 37 9 3 68
3 Gloucester 19 12 1 6 498 423 75 62 47 8 2 60
4 Harlequins 19 9 0 10 481 465 16 56 49 7 7 50
5 Wasps 19 9 0 10 425 467 -42 49 52 7 4 47
6 Northampton Saints 19 9 0 10 500 454 46 61 53 6 4 46
7 Bath 19 8 2 9 417 426 -9 44 49 4 5 45
8 Sale Sharks 19 9 1 9 390 440 -50 43 54 2 4 44
9 Bristol Bears 19 7 0 12 441 528 -87 47 69 6 7 41
10 Leicester Tigers 19 7 0 12 408 554 -146 42 72 5 5 38
11 Worcester Warriors 19 7 0 12 423 470 -47 48 56 5 4 37
12 Newcastle Falcons 19 6 0 13 347 463 -116 36 55 1 5 30

If teams are level at any stage, tiebreakers are applied in the following order:

  1. Number of matches won
  2. Difference between points for and against
  3. Total number of points for
  4. Aggregate number of points scored in matches between tied teams
  5. Number of matches won excluding the first match, then the second and so on until the tie is settled
Green background (rows 1 to 4) are play-off places and earns a berth in the 2019–20 European Rugby Champions Cup.
Blue background (rows 5 & 6) indicates teams outside the play-off places, that earns a berth in the 2019–20 European Rugby Champions Cup based on their position in the table.
Plain background indicates teams that earn a place in the 2019–20 European Rugby Challenge Cup.
Red background (row 12) will be relegated, as the team promoted from the 2018–19 RFU Championship (London Irish) are eligible for promotion.

(CH) Champions. (RU) Runners-up. (SF) Losing semi-finalists.

Starting table — source: [1]

Current squad[edit]

The Worcester Warriors squad for the 2018–19 season is:[18]

Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.

Player Position Union
Niall Annett Hooker Ireland Ireland
Isaac Miller Hooker Scotland Scotland
Jack Singleton Hooker England England
Joe Taufete'e Hooker United States United States
Matt Williams Hooker South Africa South Africa
Callum Black Prop Ireland Ireland
Ryan Bower Prop England England
Simon Kerrod Prop South Africa South Africa
Gareth Milasinovich Prop South Africa South Africa
Farai Mudariki Prop Zimbabwe Zimbabwe
Nick Schonert Prop England England
Ethan Waller Prop England England
Darren Barry Lock England England
Anton Bresler Lock Namibia Namibia
Justin Clegg Lock England England
Michael Fatialofa Lock New Zealand New Zealand
Pierce Phillips Lock England England
Matt Cox Back row England England
Cornell du Preez Back row Scotland Scotland
Alafoti Fa'osiliva Back row Samoa Samoa
Carl Kirwan Back row England England
Sam Lewis Back row Wales Wales
Marco Mama Back row Zimbabwe Zimbabwe
Dewald Potgieter Back row South Africa South Africa
GJ van Velze Back row South Africa South Africa
Zac Xiourouppa Back row England England
Player Position Union
Jonny Arr Scrum-half England England
Luke Baldwin Scrum-half England England
Michael Heaney Scrum-half Ireland Ireland
Francois Hougaard Scrum-half South Africa South Africa
Jono Lance Fly-half Australia Australia
Jamie Shillcock Fly-half England England
Duncan Weir Fly-half Scotland Scotland
Ashley Beck Centre Wales Wales
Ryan Mills Centre England England
Wynand Olivier Centre South Africa South Africa
Ben Te'o Centre England England
Francois Venter Centre South Africa South Africa
Josh Adams Wing Wales Wales
Dean Hammond Wing South Africa South Africa
Bryce Heem Wing New Zealand New Zealand
Tom Howe Wing England England
Perry Humphreys Wing England England
Chris Pennell Fullback England England
Scott van Breda Fullback South Africa South Africa

Academy squad[edit]

The Worcester Warriors academy squad is:[19]

Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.

Player Position Union
Beck Cutting Hooker England England
Kai Owen Prop England England
Joe Morris Prop England England
Nick Rigby Prop England England
Andrew Kitchener Lock England England
James Scott Lock England England
Tom Dodd Flanker Scotland Scotland
Tom Fawcett Flanker England England
Ted Hill Flanker England England
Player Position Union
Callum Morris Scrum-half Wales Wales
Luke Scully Fly-half Wales Wales
Will Butler Centre England England
Ollie Lawrence Centre England England
Alex Bartley Wing England England
Alex Hearle Wing England England
Nick David Fullback England England

Rugby World Cup[edit]

The following are players who have represented their countries at the World Cup, whilst playing for Worcester:

Position Country Tournament
Sililo Martens Scrum-half Tonga Tonga 1999
Sateki Tuipulotu Fullback Tonga Tonga 1999
Ben Hinshelwood Wing Scotland Scotland 2003
Chris Horsman Prop Wales Wales 2007
Netani Talei Number eight Fiji Fiji 2007
Aisea Havili Wing Tonga Tonga 2007
Loki Crichton Fullback Samoa Samoa 2007
Aleki Lutui Hooker Tonga Tonga 2007 and 2011
Ravai Fatiaki Centre Fiji Fiji 2011
Jaba Bregvadze Hooker Georgia (country) Georgia 2015
Tevita Cavubati Lock Fiji Fiji 2015

Current coaching staff[edit]


Notable former players[edit]


Top-flight seasons[edit]

Season Premiership Domestic Cup European Cup
Competition Position Points Competition Performance Competition Performance
2017–18 English Premiership 11th 36 Anglo-Welsh Cup 2nd in pool European Challenge Cup 3rd in pool
2016–17 English Premiership 11th 33 Anglo-Welsh Cup 4th in pool European Challenge Cup 3rd in pool
2015–16 English Premiership 10th 35 LV Cup N/A European Challenge Cup 4th in pool
2013–14 English Premiership 12th 16 LV Cup 4th in pool European Challenge Cup 4th in pool
2012–13 English Premiership 11th 33 LV Cup 4th in pool European Challenge Cup 2nd in pool
2011–12 English Premiership 10th 36 LV Cup 3rd in pool European Challenge Cup 2nd in pool
2009–10 English Premiership 12th 28 LV Cup 4th in pool European Challenge Cup 3rd in pool
2008–09 English Premiership 11th 34 EDF Energy Cup 4th in pool European Challenge Cup Semi-finalists
2007–08 English Premiership 10th 36 EDF Energy Cup 4th in pool European Challenge Cup Finalists
2006–07 English Premiership 11th 34 EDF Energy Cup 2nd in pool European Challenge Cup 2nd in pool
2005–06 English Premiership 8th 47 Powergen Cup 4th in pool European Challenge Cup Semi-finalists
2004–05 English Premiership 9th 42 Powergen Cup 6th round European Shield Finalists


The club's kit is made by sports manufacturer VX-3, who they signed with in 2018 to produce home and away strips for the English Premiership.[22] They are sponsored by Greene King.[23]

Charitable Causes[edit]

Acorns Children's Hospice has been the official charity partner of Warriors since the facility opened in March 2005. The club have raised in excess of £200,000 to assist the charity since its inception and this season hooker Niall Annett is the charity's Player Ambassador.

Cecil Duckworth is a trustee of the Wooden Spoon, the charity of British rugby, supporting disadvantaged children. In January 2007, Worcester opened a "Playing for Success" centre, supported by Spoon.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Worcester Statistics (to 2007)" (PDF). RFU.com. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
  2. ^ "Worcester Warriors History". Talk Rugby Union. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  3. ^ Not Just a Racecourse Judd Doughty Worcestershire Life June 2010 p42
  4. ^ "Warriors suffer European cup final misery". Warriors.co.uk. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
  5. ^ "Warriors sign superstar Latham". Warriors.co.uk. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
  6. ^ "Worcester Warriors 25–20 Cornish Pirates (agg 46–32)". BBC Sport. BBC News. 18 May 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
  7. ^ Guest, Tom (19 August 2011). "Plans could see Hilton hotel built in city". Worcester News. Retrieved 22 August 2011.
  8. ^ "Worcester Warriors: Dean Ryan named director of rugby". BBC Sport. 17 April 2013. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
  9. ^ "Ryan aware of pitfalls". Independent.
  10. ^ "Warriors 59-58 Bristol". BBC Sport. BBC Sport.
  11. ^ "Warriors win B&I Cup". BBC Sport. BBC Sport.
  12. ^ "Sixways set for revamp". Worcester News. Worcester News.
  13. ^ "Table 2015/16". Aviva Premierhsip. Aviva Premierhsip.
  14. ^ a b "Rotherham take it all". The Guardian. 13 April 2003. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  15. ^ "Rotherham Titans 38 - 13 Worcester Warriors". Worcester Warriors. 23 November 2002.
  16. ^ "Results & Fixtures: Comprehensive 2002–03". Worcester Warriors.
  17. ^ "Worcester Warriors call up Blair Cowan for tonight's big Gloucester derby". Worcester News. 22 February 2013.
  18. ^ "Players and Coaching Index : Players & Coaches". Worcester Warriors. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  19. ^ "Worcester Academy Squad : Players & Coaches". Worcester Warriors. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  20. ^ "Rugby Management". Warriors.co.uk. Retrieved 16 March 2009.
  21. ^ "Record of Achievement". Warriors.co.uk. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
  22. ^ "2018/19 Home, Away and Third Shirts unveiled" (Press release). Worcester Warriors. 31 July 2018. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  23. ^ "GREENE KING UNVEILED AS NEW MAIN SPONSOR OF WORCESTER WARRIORS" (Press release). Greene King. 28 July 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2016.

External links[edit]