Enough now, it’s time for change

Worcester News: CHRIS PENNELL: A rare highlight in Warriors' dire season. CHRIS PENNELL: A rare highlight in Warriors' dire season.

WITH Warriors so blatantly failing in every department this season, has it reached the stage to say ‘enough is enough’?

Obviously, no self-respecting professional club in any sport could be forgiven for throwing in the towel while a mathematical chance — no matter how unlikely — remained of avoiding relegation.

However, with a second stint in the Championship looking more and more likely for Worcester with every passing week, I’m beginning to feel that wholesale changes need to be made to the Warriors first XV.

Clearly the current ‘first-choice’ players are not cutting the mustard at the moment, so maybe it would be worth blooding as many youngsters as possible instead.

Then, should the worst happen this term, they will have plenty of top-flight experience under their belts, which would leave them well equipped to play key roles in the rebirth of Worcester Warriors.

Compare, for example, the two possible Warriors XVs below. The first is the side that started the game against London Irish; the second a team based around the club’s up-and-coming youngsters.

Current Warriors: Pennell; Stephenson, Grove, Fatiaki, Drauniniu; Warwick, Su’a; Fainga’anuku, Brooker, O’Donnell, Percival, Galarza, de Carpentier, Betty, Senatore.

Future Warriors: Pennell; Howard, Stelling, Symons, Hammond; Eden, de Cothi; Becasseau, Seymour, O’Donnell, Casson, Williams, de Carpentier, Boyce, Goodhue.

Would that youthful side fare that much worse than the current crop? Difficult to say, but there is an argument that they couldn’t do much worse and might as well be given their chance.

Clearly, experience has a vital part to play in any Aviva Premiership side and it can’t be denied that Warriors have been hampered by injuries to key players, while a team of young kids could have their confidence shaken by being exposed en masse to the coalface of senior rugby week in, week out.

But, as players such as George Ford at Bath, Billy Vunipola at Saracens and Jack Nowell at Exeter are proving this term, if you’re good enough, you’re old enough. For me, the way forward for Warriors has to be firmly focused around a core of hungry young players eager to make their mark.

If that means the club often losing the cream of the crop to higher-ranked teams, so be it, but once that production line is consistently delivering top talent, then — and only then — can Warriors realistically think about producing a team to match the enviable Sixways surroundings.

Meanwhile, director of rugby Dean Ryan has said over and over this season that there is no miracle player out there who can be brought in to solve Warriors’ problems.

Well, all I’d say in response was that the performance of Australian international James O’Connor, who has been drafted in by London Irish on a short-term deal until the end of the season, was pretty miraculous as he single-handedly hammered a large nail into Worcester’s coffin.

Comments (22)

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9:19am Mon 6 Jan 14

Officer Nordburg says...

Don't disagree lets give the youngsters a game and see if they can help be part of the future. We will soon find out if they are good enough
Don't disagree lets give the youngsters a game and see if they can help be part of the future. We will soon find out if they are good enough Officer Nordburg
  • Score: 3

10:20am Mon 6 Jan 14

liketoknow says...

seems to me that they got rid of the good players and kept the average ones.
seems to me that they got rid of the good players and kept the average ones. liketoknow
  • Score: 3

10:31am Mon 6 Jan 14

welshpricey says...

Totally agree Tom. The only person who seems to be living in denial about all of this is Mr Ryan himself. This quote of "long term plan" is getting exceptionally tiresome week after week. For him to then launch a scathing attack on the fans because they dare to voice their dismay smacks of someone losing control and looking for people to divert the blame to. If he was paying his hard earned to watch this drivel and to see or beloved club record it's worst season in history then he must understand when we are going to start asking questions why. At the start of the season we all had renewed hope on his new "vision" but clearly he is not a man who can live up to his words. About time the club started listening to the fans as if they continue on this blinkered path, there won't be many of us left. This can't all be Hilly's fault as at least he managed to win games and keep us in the top flight.
Totally agree Tom. The only person who seems to be living in denial about all of this is Mr Ryan himself. This quote of "long term plan" is getting exceptionally tiresome week after week. For him to then launch a scathing attack on the fans because they dare to voice their dismay smacks of someone losing control and looking for people to divert the blame to. If he was paying his hard earned to watch this drivel and to see or beloved club record it's worst season in history then he must understand when we are going to start asking questions why. At the start of the season we all had renewed hope on his new "vision" but clearly he is not a man who can live up to his words. About time the club started listening to the fans as if they continue on this blinkered path, there won't be many of us left. This can't all be Hilly's fault as at least he managed to win games and keep us in the top flight. welshpricey
  • Score: 0

12:03pm Mon 6 Jan 14

amvarmalc says...

Surely there must at least be a decent 'number 10' out there who could bring some control and stability to our play? This is the area where we seem to be so sadly lacking. Dare I say it - even Joe Carlisle would have done a better job than our current two! Another youngster we managed to let slip through our fingers!!
Surely there must at least be a decent 'number 10' out there who could bring some control and stability to our play? This is the area where we seem to be so sadly lacking. Dare I say it - even Joe Carlisle would have done a better job than our current two! Another youngster we managed to let slip through our fingers!! amvarmalc
  • Score: 0

12:09pm Mon 6 Jan 14

amvarmalc says...

Fully agree with your point about the youngsters Tom. But surely there must be a decent 'number 10' out there who could be brought in now to bring some control and stability to our game? It's in this area we seem to fail, week in, week out! Dare I say it - even Joey Carlisle would have done a better job than our current two failures! Another promising youngster we managed to let slip through our fingers!!
Fully agree with your point about the youngsters Tom. But surely there must be a decent 'number 10' out there who could be brought in now to bring some control and stability to our game? It's in this area we seem to fail, week in, week out! Dare I say it - even Joey Carlisle would have done a better job than our current two failures! Another promising youngster we managed to let slip through our fingers!! amvarmalc
  • Score: -1

12:13pm Mon 6 Jan 14

Officer Nordburg says...

amvarmalc wrote:
Fully agree with your point about the youngsters Tom. But surely there must be a decent 'number 10' out there who could be brought in now to bring some control and stability to our game? It's in this area we seem to fail, week in, week out! Dare I say it - even Joey Carlisle would have done a better job than our current two failures! Another promising youngster we managed to let slip through our fingers!!
Carlisle was not a promising youngster. He was lightweight, hid away from his responsibilities and unable to manage a game. He never bossed one game for the Warriors even when playing against part timers like Esher. His goal kicking was however right out of the top locker.
[quote][p][bold]amvarmalc[/bold] wrote: Fully agree with your point about the youngsters Tom. But surely there must be a decent 'number 10' out there who could be brought in now to bring some control and stability to our game? It's in this area we seem to fail, week in, week out! Dare I say it - even Joey Carlisle would have done a better job than our current two failures! Another promising youngster we managed to let slip through our fingers!![/p][/quote]Carlisle was not a promising youngster. He was lightweight, hid away from his responsibilities and unable to manage a game. He never bossed one game for the Warriors even when playing against part timers like Esher. His goal kicking was however right out of the top locker. Officer Nordburg
  • Score: 1

12:37pm Mon 6 Jan 14

BCU Kev says...

I agree we need to blood some youngsters, but there needs to be some experience around them, particularly in the front five and at 10. James Percival and Jonathon Thomas give everything they've got each match, so they need to feature, and if you want to develop a 10, you need an experienced inside centre to help him. Mr Ryan, we are crying out for a 10! Letting Andy Goode go was criminal. The danger with just blooding lots of youngsters is that the learn a losing culture, and lets get some value back from the not insignificant wage bill!
I agree we need to blood some youngsters, but there needs to be some experience around them, particularly in the front five and at 10. James Percival and Jonathon Thomas give everything they've got each match, so they need to feature, and if you want to develop a 10, you need an experienced inside centre to help him. Mr Ryan, we are crying out for a 10! Letting Andy Goode go was criminal. The danger with just blooding lots of youngsters is that the learn a losing culture, and lets get some value back from the not insignificant wage bill! BCU Kev
  • Score: 0

2:06pm Mon 6 Jan 14

amvarmalc says...

My point was Joey would probably do better than the current two 10's who seem to have neither game management nor kicking ability!
My point was Joey would probably do better than the current two 10's who seem to have neither game management nor kicking ability! amvarmalc
  • Score: 3

5:20pm Mon 6 Jan 14

zx12r says...

Our number 10's are a joke, an Aussie well past his sell-by date & a high kicking Argie who had one half decent season for Exeter, then fell off the radar never to reappear. I was never a fan of Carlise but his kicking alone would have at least kept us in touch rather than the one-way ticket to the Championship we now find ourselves in.
What a pity Andy Goode & Richard Hill were unable to get on cos' I'm sure we would not be in this position now. Maybe not top half but most certainly not rock bottom.
Our number 10's are a joke, an Aussie well past his sell-by date & a high kicking Argie who had one half decent season for Exeter, then fell off the radar never to reappear. I was never a fan of Carlise but his kicking alone would have at least kept us in touch rather than the one-way ticket to the Championship we now find ourselves in. What a pity Andy Goode & Richard Hill were unable to get on cos' I'm sure we would not be in this position now. Maybe not top half but most certainly not rock bottom. zx12r
  • Score: 3

9:59pm Mon 6 Jan 14

dulon says...

Goode was a very accomplished kicker but, I noticed that he shirked his responsibilities to preserve his own career at the latter end of last season.
The troubles that we are having boils down to mental preparation and concentration . Physically they are as good as they have ever been they just appear to be in need of inspiration on the pitch . We need a Cipriani type of figure as they have at Sale . That might be the catalyst that is needed to galvanise the players . Must admit to being disappointed with the argies contribution so far that doesn't appear to be a master-stroke !
Goode was a very accomplished kicker but, I noticed that he shirked his responsibilities to preserve his own career at the latter end of last season. The troubles that we are having boils down to mental preparation and concentration . Physically they are as good as they have ever been they just appear to be in need of inspiration on the pitch . We need a Cipriani type of figure as they have at Sale . That might be the catalyst that is needed to galvanise the players . Must admit to being disappointed with the argies contribution so far that doesn't appear to be a master-stroke ! dulon
  • Score: 0

11:44pm Mon 6 Jan 14

latecomer says...

Shame on you Mr Guest, that really is a naive and juvenile article. It reads very much like the ill informed rubbish I read on the 2 forums from a minority of so called faithful supporters. I think your 'alternative' team would end up completely demoralised, an experience from which they may never recover.
Dulon, to describe our Argentinian players as 'argies' is quite disrespectful, bordering on racist no doubt. If he hadn't got injured I believe Augustine Creevy would no doubt have been the catalyst you desire for a better season than we are having.
Shame on you Mr Guest, that really is a naive and juvenile article. It reads very much like the ill informed rubbish I read on the 2 forums from a minority of so called faithful supporters. I think your 'alternative' team would end up completely demoralised, an experience from which they may never recover. Dulon, to describe our Argentinian players as 'argies' is quite disrespectful, bordering on racist no doubt. If he hadn't got injured I believe Augustine Creevy would no doubt have been the catalyst you desire for a better season than we are having. latecomer
  • Score: -6

8:09am Tue 7 Jan 14

welshpricey says...

latecomer is obviously just that. A latecomer to the fact we are going to be relegated!!! I think Tom has been spot on with his article and is only portraying what the majority of fans are saying and feeling, as opposed to the small minority who still wear rose tinted glasses. Knowing how Mr Ryan hates the berating of him or any of his staff I wonder how long it is before Tom is barred for his honest approach and big screens go up in the ground on match days, showing other games, so at least we can watch some proper rugby!!
latecomer is obviously just that. A latecomer to the fact we are going to be relegated!!! I think Tom has been spot on with his article and is only portraying what the majority of fans are saying and feeling, as opposed to the small minority who still wear rose tinted glasses. Knowing how Mr Ryan hates the berating of him or any of his staff I wonder how long it is before Tom is barred for his honest approach and big screens go up in the ground on match days, showing other games, so at least we can watch some proper rugby!! welshpricey
  • Score: 0

9:10am Tue 7 Jan 14

Officer Nordburg says...

Welsh pricey I would probably not go as radical as Toms team as players like Pennell, Percival, Thomas and the Argentinean players can certainly help them develop by playing alongside them.
Welsh pricey I would probably not go as radical as Toms team as players like Pennell, Percival, Thomas and the Argentinean players can certainly help them develop by playing alongside them. Officer Nordburg
  • Score: 0

10:09am Tue 7 Jan 14

welshpricey says...

Whilst perhaps not such a radical change as toted but the foundation of the actual article is quite right. Our "internationals" have brought little or nothing to the party and there is no one in our back line seemingly able to boss the game, in the way that Goodey is now doing for Wasps. Why not give the kids a run, they can't do any worse than our seasoned seniors.
Whilst perhaps not such a radical change as toted but the foundation of the actual article is quite right. Our "internationals" have brought little or nothing to the party and there is no one in our back line seemingly able to boss the game, in the way that Goodey is now doing for Wasps. Why not give the kids a run, they can't do any worse than our seasoned seniors. welshpricey
  • Score: 0

11:08am Tue 7 Jan 14

BCU Kev says...

How about Matavesi at 10 (as he as played there internationally) with Chris taking care of place kicks if we're exploring the can't do any worse theme?
How about Matavesi at 10 (as he as played there internationally) with Chris taking care of place kicks if we're exploring the can't do any worse theme? BCU Kev
  • Score: 0

3:01pm Tue 7 Jan 14

Officer Nordburg says...

I would say that Galarza and Thomas has been a very good signing. I am also looking forward to seeing Leo and Austin once fully fit as they have great ability you don't play in the forwards for Argentina if you have no ability.

Matavesi at 10? No thanks, cannot pass, drifts in and out of the game and does not tackle that well. He may have played there for Fiji but I believe Gloucester defeated Fiji a few years ago.
I would say that Galarza and Thomas has been a very good signing. I am also looking forward to seeing Leo and Austin once fully fit as they have great ability you don't play in the forwards for Argentina if you have no ability. Matavesi at 10? No thanks, cannot pass, drifts in and out of the game and does not tackle that well. He may have played there for Fiji but I believe Gloucester defeated Fiji a few years ago. Officer Nordburg
  • Score: 0

3:15pm Tue 7 Jan 14

welshpricey says...

Thomas I can go with (and not just me being biased towards a fellow countryman for once!!) but as for the rest I can take or leave them. Not seen any wow factor in any of them and certainly no game changing impacts.

As stated previously, the last several years have seen DOR's come and go and whilst never having been able to get away from the doldrums we have at least managed to win games and keep our heads above water. I understand Ryan's long term goal but this clearly shows that doing it as a big hit was not the right move and now the club / fans will be the ones o suffer again. No guarantees we can do the bounce when we go down as the Championship isn't a kiddies playground anymore.
Thomas I can go with (and not just me being biased towards a fellow countryman for once!!) but as for the rest I can take or leave them. Not seen any wow factor in any of them and certainly no game changing impacts. As stated previously, the last several years have seen DOR's come and go and whilst never having been able to get away from the doldrums we have at least managed to win games and keep our heads above water. I understand Ryan's long term goal but this clearly shows that doing it as a big hit was not the right move and now the club / fans will be the ones o suffer again. No guarantees we can do the bounce when we go down as the Championship isn't a kiddies playground anymore. welshpricey
  • Score: 0

9:48pm Tue 7 Jan 14

grubberlog says...

latecomer wrote:
Shame on you Mr Guest, that really is a naive and juvenile article. It reads very much like the ill informed rubbish I read on the 2 forums from a minority of so called faithful supporters. I think your 'alternative' team would end up completely demoralised, an experience from which they may never recover.
Dulon, to describe our Argentinian players as 'argies' is quite disrespectful, bordering on racist no doubt. If he hadn't got injured I believe Augustine Creevy would no doubt have been the catalyst you desire for a better season than we are having.
Really? so we can't refer to Australians as "Aussies" either?
[quote][p][bold]latecomer[/bold] wrote: Shame on you Mr Guest, that really is a naive and juvenile article. It reads very much like the ill informed rubbish I read on the 2 forums from a minority of so called faithful supporters. I think your 'alternative' team would end up completely demoralised, an experience from which they may never recover. Dulon, to describe our Argentinian players as 'argies' is quite disrespectful, bordering on racist no doubt. If he hadn't got injured I believe Augustine Creevy would no doubt have been the catalyst you desire for a better season than we are having.[/p][/quote]Really? so we can't refer to Australians as "Aussies" either? grubberlog
  • Score: 1

3:08pm Wed 8 Jan 14

Brummagem Bertie says...

O the joy of a short memory

Tom G,
"Would that youthful side fare that much worse than the current crop? Difficult to say, but there is an argument that they couldn’t do much worse and might as well be given their chance."

The last time we played a bunch of young kids together in the Prem, on 1/04/09, the score was Quins 60-14 Warriors. A certain T Guest called that an expected rout, with the youngsters described as massive underdogs, struggling to keep up and wilting. I'm not sure why anyone thinks that it would be any different this time around, particularly given some of the recent A team results.

George Ford, Billy Vunipola and Jack Nowell are thriving precisely because they are playing amongst experienced players, not because they are playing in teams with an average age of 21. That's what Dean Ryan is doing with the likes of Max Stelling, James Stephenson, Andy Symons, RDC, Dean Hammond, Rob O'Donnell and the others: giving them game time alongside the experienced players. That's a much better approach, IMO, than chucking them all in together and seeing them concede 50-60 points every week.
O the joy of a short memory Tom G, "Would that youthful side fare that much worse than the current crop? Difficult to say, but there is an argument that they couldn’t do much worse and might as well be given their chance." The last time we played a bunch of young kids together in the Prem, on 1/04/09, the score was Quins 60-14 Warriors. A certain T Guest called that an expected rout, with the youngsters described as massive underdogs, struggling to keep up and wilting. I'm not sure why anyone thinks that it would be any different this time around, particularly given some of the recent A team results. George Ford, Billy Vunipola and Jack Nowell are thriving precisely because they are playing amongst experienced players, not because they are playing in teams with an average age of 21. That's what Dean Ryan is doing with the likes of Max Stelling, James Stephenson, Andy Symons, RDC, Dean Hammond, Rob O'Donnell and the others: giving them game time alongside the experienced players. That's a much better approach, IMO, than chucking them all in together and seeing them concede 50-60 points every week. Brummagem Bertie
  • Score: 1

3:29pm Wed 8 Jan 14

BCU Kev says...

A look at the current championship table and recent results will alarm anyone who thinks that a season in the Championship could allow rebuilding. Bristol. With a raft of premiership experienced players lie in fourth,and there are very few games where one team has put a sizeable points difference on the other. This team needs to roll its sleeves up, spend if it can identify a 10 and avoid the drop at all costs, but I fear it may be too late.
A look at the current championship table and recent results will alarm anyone who thinks that a season in the Championship could allow rebuilding. Bristol. With a raft of premiership experienced players lie in fourth,and there are very few games where one team has put a sizeable points difference on the other. This team needs to roll its sleeves up, spend if it can identify a 10 and avoid the drop at all costs, but I fear it may be too late. BCU Kev
  • Score: 4

3:39pm Wed 8 Jan 14

Brummagem Bertie says...

welshpricey wrote:
Totally agree Tom. The only person who seems to be living in denial about all of this is Mr Ryan himself. This quote of "long term plan" is getting exceptionally tiresome week after week. For him to then launch a scathing attack on the fans because they dare to voice their dismay smacks of someone losing control and looking for people to divert the blame to. If he was paying his hard earned to watch this drivel and to see or beloved club record it's worst season in history then he must understand when we are going to start asking questions why. At the start of the season we all had renewed hope on his new "vision" but clearly he is not a man who can live up to his words. About time the club started listening to the fans as if they continue on this blinkered path, there won't be many of us left. This can't all be Hilly's fault as at least he managed to win games and keep us in the top flight.
The whole point about a "long-term plan" is that it is a plan for the long-term! Yes, Hilly did win enough games to keep us up, as did John Brain and Mike Ruddock. They all thought that success could be achieved by short-term fixes and all you had to do was identify and buy in the right players. That approach achieved the dizzy heights of 8th, once IIRC, but more often just hanging on in 10th or 11th.

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Ryan is at least attempting something different in overhauling the club from the very top, at Board level, to the bottom, with the club's links with local schools. Anyone who thinks that that is an easy task that can be completed in a few months and will produce instant improvement or quick results is wrong.

Having listened to Ryan at the supporter's evening in December it is clear he is not in denial about our current position, is not losing control and is not trying to shift the blame for where we are. A vision without conviction, however, is unlikely to be realised. Besides, there is plenty of evidence that Ryan is living up to his words in the changes at Academy level, the recruitment of Nick Johnston and the recent player contract announcements.

Quins and Saints reinvented and rebuilt themselves in ND1 (now the Championship): we are trying to do it in the Premiership. That is looking increasingly like too much of an ask so we will probably have to follow their lead. But we do have to rebuild the club if we are to have a real chance to crack the top 6.
[quote][p][bold]welshpricey[/bold] wrote: Totally agree Tom. The only person who seems to be living in denial about all of this is Mr Ryan himself. This quote of "long term plan" is getting exceptionally tiresome week after week. For him to then launch a scathing attack on the fans because they dare to voice their dismay smacks of someone losing control and looking for people to divert the blame to. If he was paying his hard earned to watch this drivel and to see or beloved club record it's worst season in history then he must understand when we are going to start asking questions why. At the start of the season we all had renewed hope on his new "vision" but clearly he is not a man who can live up to his words. About time the club started listening to the fans as if they continue on this blinkered path, there won't be many of us left. This can't all be Hilly's fault as at least he managed to win games and keep us in the top flight.[/p][/quote]The whole point about a "long-term plan" is that it is a plan for the long-term! Yes, Hilly did win enough games to keep us up, as did John Brain and Mike Ruddock. They all thought that success could be achieved by short-term fixes and all you had to do was identify and buy in the right players. That approach achieved the dizzy heights of 8th, once IIRC, but more often just hanging on in 10th or 11th. One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Ryan is at least attempting something different in overhauling the club from the very top, at Board level, to the bottom, with the club's links with local schools. Anyone who thinks that that is an easy task that can be completed in a few months and will produce instant improvement or quick results is wrong. Having listened to Ryan at the supporter's evening in December it is clear he is not in denial about our current position, is not losing control and is not trying to shift the blame for where we are. A vision without conviction, however, is unlikely to be realised. Besides, there is plenty of evidence that Ryan is living up to his words in the changes at Academy level, the recruitment of Nick Johnston and the recent player contract announcements. Quins and Saints reinvented and rebuilt themselves in ND1 (now the Championship): we are trying to do it in the Premiership. That is looking increasingly like too much of an ask so we will probably have to follow their lead. But we do have to rebuild the club if we are to have a real chance to crack the top 6. Brummagem Bertie
  • Score: 1

3:46pm Wed 8 Jan 14

BCU Kev says...

When Quins and Northampton did it, there were no play-offs, the side that came top gained automatic promotion
When Quins and Northampton did it, there were no play-offs, the side that came top gained automatic promotion BCU Kev
  • Score: 1
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