THE question on many Warriors fans’ lips at the moment is: ‘Has Richard Hill taken Worcester as far as he can?’
I, for one, think it is too soon to be questioning the head coach’s tenure as, to date, the former Bristol chief has done exactly what has been asked off him.
Hill was appointed to negotiate safe passage out of the Championship and back into the Premiership at the first time of asking.
This he did and was then tasked with putting together a side, albeit at short notice given the second tier’s long-winded play-off system, capable of retaining top-flight rugby. Again, mission accomplished.
However, that brings us onto the tricky third season when Warriors really should be looking to move on to the next level which, in their case, is the Promised Land of the Heineken Cup.
Although there are still nine Aviva Premiership games to be played, that top-six finish appears to be as tantalisingly out of reach as it has ever been.
Hill remains under contract for next season having been handed a two-year extension to his deal at the end of the 2010/11 promotion-winning campaign.
This has not stopped the rumours from circulating, though, with former Scotland boss Andy Robinson among those to have been connected to the top job at Sixways, while there was also plenty of speculation linking Dean Richards to the post prior to the disgraced ‘Bloodgate’ man agreeing to join Newcastle Falcons.
When I spoke to Charlie Little last week, I asked him about Hill’s future, which was understandably an uncomfortable topic, and the Warriors managing director gave his backing to the incumbent head coach, although it wasn’t a ringing endorsement.
Little said: “Hilly has done what we asked him to and we are middle of the season now and I think it is far too early to be going one way or the other at the moment.
“We could win every game and end up in the Heineken Cup, we could lose every game and end up at the bottom.”
As I said, hardly a resounding vote of confidence, more of a ‘let’s see what happens between now and the end of this season’.
Warriors have definitely improved under Hill’s tenure, but the question is whether or not the former England scrum-half is capable of continuing that gradual upward curve.
Previously, he led Bristol to a third-placed finish and Heineken Cup rugby, so there’s no reason he couldn’t do the same at Worcester.
Still, I feel the Warriors head coach is on borrowed time at the moment and how well — or otherwise — Worcester finish this season will go a long way to determining his fate.