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Enough now, it’s time for change
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.