DIRECTOR of rugby Alan Solomons firmly believes Worcester Warriors will win the Gallagher Premiership in five years’ time – if they retain their homegrown talent.

Solomons declared his title ambitions in his opening address to Warriors supporters at his question-and-answer event at Sixways on Tuesday night.

His big statement was met by a collective gasp from fans as Worcester had not finished outside the bottom three in 13 years with their best position of eighth coming in 2006.

But Solomons was convinced the batch of youngsters currently coming through the club’s youth system had the ability to transform Warriors into league champions in the future.

Flanker Ted Hill, centres Ollie Lawrence and Will Butler, lock Andrew Kitchener and prop Joe Morris were promoted to the senior squad ahead of this season.

And Solomons said there were many more youngsters – including back rower Jack Forsyth and scrum-half Oliver Wynn who are both in Warriors’ under 18s side – that had great potential.

“I said to Ted Hill the other day that you could virtually make a team out of this academy side,” Solomons said.

“I honestly believe that if we keep all of them at Sixways in five years’ time we will win the Premiership with that team.

“Those players are good enough. I honestly believe that.

“If we add into that mix some quality players from the outside, which we can easily do, we will have a team capable of winning the Premiership.

“The big key for us is retaining those players at Sixways.”

Warriors have a rich history of developing players that have gone on to play international rugby, including former England forwards Tom Wood and Matt Mullan, but have been unable to keep hold of them.

One supporter said he “loved the vision” but asked Solomons how he intended to stop more rising stars from leaving.

Solomons responded by stressing that he would not allow an academy player’s pathway to be “blocked”.

“At the moment the bulk of those players have not just been signed up for this year but for the following season as well,” Solomons said.

“We have to keep them.

“One way to do that is for them to end up playing.

“What happens when the academy lads suddenly see Ted, Ollie and Andrew in the staring XV?

“They will realise that they their path is not blocked.

“I am not going to block their pathway because if I do that it will make it very difficult for them and then they are going to leave.”

Since entering the top-flight for the first time in 2004, many directors of rugby have expressed their desire to make Warriors a European Champions Cup outfit only to be sucked into relegation dogfights.

But with owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham behind him and a vast experience in the game Solomons reckons he can break the cycle of underachievement.

The 69-year-old highlighted how he turned his Western Province side into Currie Cup champions in 1997, 2000 and 2001.

That team featured the likes of Bobby Skinstad, Corné Krige and Percy Montgomery who went on to play for South Africa.

“We had the most incredible group of youngsters – similar to what we have here,” Solomons said.

“I remember when Corné Krige came to me as I had heard that he was going to go to the Boland (Cavaliers) because Nick Mallett was there.

“I said to Corné ‘You will make the biggest mistake of your life going to Boland. This province side we have now will win the Currie Cup’.

“They went on a year or two later to win back-to-back Currie Cups and that is what I have to do at Warriors.

“I have to create the right environment but also share the vision that I have with the young academy players and let them see that there is a realistic prospect of us achieving those kind of honours provided we all stay together.

“And to try to persuade them that if they don’t do that they are going to miss the ride.

“It is not going to be easy, but we are going to do everything in our power to retain every single one of those academy players.”

Young flanker Morgan Monks made an impact for Worcester Cavaliers last season before earning a senior academy contract.

Solomons said he became moved when the Worcester Sixth Form College student stressed how much the club meant to him which was an attitude the Warriors boss was determined to harness.

“All the new players have to stand up and tell the rest who they are and say a few words,” Solomons said.

“And this kid (Monks) just stood up, punched his chest and said I am Worcester through and through and I am proud to be here.

“It was moving and I thought to myself that’s exactly what it is about.

“I said to that young player you are going to be the core of this team.

“We will bring in good players from the outside to add into the mix because that’s always important.

“But the core must come from within this place.

“When it means that much to a man he is going to do just give that little bit extra because he is prepared to die for the cause.”