Saturday, 24 August 2013

Season's Preview: Worcester


Nickname: Warriors

Founded: 1871

Years in Top Tier: 8

Last Year: 11th in Prem (33 Points), Group Stage in Amlin Challenge Cup & Anglo-Welsh Cup

Europe: Amlin Challenge Cup

Director of Rugby: Dean Ryan


In: Jonathan Thomas (Ospreys), Ignacio Mieres (Exeter), Agustin Creevy (Montpelier),  Leonardo Senatore (Gimnasia y Esgrima de Rosario), Paul Warwick (Stade Francais), Paul Andrews (Cornish Pirates), Ofa Fainga’anuku (Glasgow), Mike Williams (Blue Bulls), James Stephenson (Bedford), Chris Brooker (Harlequins), Jeremy Su’a (Canterbury Crusaders), Cameron Goodhue (Auckland Blues), Jeremy Becasseau (Stade Francais)

Out: Matt Kvesic (Gloucester), Matt Mullan (Wasps), Andy Goode (Wasps), Aleki Lutui (Edinburgh),  Blair Cowan (London Irish), Nikki Walker (Edinburgh), Shaun Perry (Retiring-Coaching Dudley-Kingswinford), Errie Claasens (Bristol), Andy Short (Bristol), Joe Carlisle (Wasps), Neil Best (London Scottish), Ollie Hayes (Bristol), Ollie Frost (London Welsh), Craig Gillies (Retiring), Ceri Jones (Retiring-Coaching staff)

Ins: 13

Outs: 15

Worcester’s biggest change over the summer has been the sacking of Richard Hill and the appointment of Dean Ryan.  Ryan has impressed many with his punditry on Sky Sports and he guided Gloucester to back to back 1st place finishes in 2006-7 and 2007-8, losing to the mighty Tigers in the Play Offs both times.  Worcester have never finished above 8th and never really been able to get away from the relegation dog fight. 

As usual Worcester have lost some of their brightest talents as Matts Mullan and Kvesic have moved on to “bigger” clubs, Wasps and Gloucester in their two cases.  Both were stalwarts of the pack and yet more for the Worcester “might have been” pack featuring Kitchener, Wood, Hartley and the now retired Blaze. 

Also out are Tigers legend Andy Goode (also to Wasps), and Aleki Lutui who leaves after 7 seasons at the heart of the pack. 

The Warriors have several big names coming in as Jonathan Thomas, 67 Wales caps, Agustin Creevy, 23 Argentina caps, Leandro Senatore, 18 caps for Argentina, Ignacio Mieres, 6 caps for Argentina and previously with Exeter, Stade Francais and Leicester’s A team, and Samoa’s scrum half this summer Jeremy Su’a, a school boy pal of big Steve Mafi.

With Dean Ryan involved and the pack looking older and perhaps a bit stronger I would expect Worcester to improve from their dismal 11th placed finish, though I think the re-building job is such a big one that the Heineken Cup might just be a bit beyond them. 

Prediction: 8th

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