WORCESTER Warriors are embroiled in a turf war with Midlands rivals Wasps and Premiership Rugby over “one of the jewels” in their crown.
The Sixways club fear losing their prestigious regional development centre at Warwick School to Coventry-based Wasps.
Wasps moved their home matches from London to the Ricoh Arena in December 2014 and their training base is switching on a temporary basis to Coventry’s Broadstreet Rugby Club this summer.
Territories for 14 RFU-licensed academies have been defined since 2008.
However, the academy boundaries are set to change in a new agreement this summer between the RFU and Premiership Rugby.
Warriors director of rugby Dean Ryan has vowed the club “won’t give up their academy boundaries without a fight”.
“The club will fight for its boundaries and everyone can be reassured about that,” he said.
“For a long time, people go and make decisions and just expect clubs like Worcester to sit by the wayside. That has stopped.
“We have no idea where the fight is going to end up but I can give everyone reassurance we will fight very hard for the work and investment we’ve done and the loyalty we’ve got from a group we’ve invested time, money and resources into for some time.
“We now have it paying dividends in numbers at the under 20s and under 18s age groups and Warwick School is an important component of that.”
After Ryan was appointed Warriors chief in May 2013, he declared that, to achieve long-term success, the club would need to re-engage their academy programme and roll it out across the entire West Midlands.
Warwick is now one of Worcester’s six regional centres for developing young talent and has been described as a “jewel in the crown” by Worcester’s high performance boss Nick Johnston.
The school have been preparing at Sixways ahead of a NatWest Schools Cup semi-final on Saturday and Warriors’ utility back Ben Howard is a former pupil.
Academy centres are also at Sixways, Telford College of Arts and Technology, Barkers’ Butts RFC, Hereford Cathedral School, Luctonians RFC and King Edward’s School, Birmingham.
Ryan said: “We will offer our views because somebody (Wasps) has taken a commercial decision to set themselves in the Midlands and we are not the only club.
“Nothing has been decided on the academy barrier boundaries, so anyone saying a decision has been made is being premature.
“But this club won’t give up their academy boundaries without a fight, I can reassure you that.
“We have made a huge investment and it (Warwick School) is one of the most productive schools in the country.
“There seems to be a view the boundaries can be moved around and rejigged but it’s not the view of this club and we will be fighting hard to maintain our academy boundaries.”
A Premiership Rugby spokesman said: “New Academy licenses will start in July 2016 and as part of that process a review is currently being conducted of the Academy structure in England.
“This review is crucial for the future of the game in England and it will not help the process, and outcomes to discuss it publicly until it has been concluded.”