FORMER Worcester Warriors director of rugby Dean Ryan has broken his silence over why he ended his tenure at Sixways.

Ryan took over the reins at Warriors in 2013 and guided them back to the Premiership in 2015 after suffering relegation in his first season in charge.

But Ryan, who had also got the club’s academy back up and running, stunned Worcester’s players, staff and supporters when he decided to leave in June 2016.

The ex-England international said he had “invested a huge amount of myself in this place” but revealed he had “lost confidence in the ownership of the club”.

“I lost confidence in (former owner) Greg Allen and (ex-chief executive) Jim O’Toole. It’s as simple as that,” said Ryan on why he left Warriors.

“There is no reason for having your head of rugby if they have lost confidence in the ownership of the club.”

Under Ryan’s leadership, Warriors made 20 signings in the summer of 2014, including Ryan Mills, Matt Cox, Gerrit-Jan van Velze, Niall Annett, Nick Schonert and Ryan Bower who remain at the club.

“I had invested a huge amount of myself into this place and had brought a lot of people here on the passion I saw for it,” Ryan said.

“It was very difficult, but I have been caught in situations before where I have ended up captaining a ship which I had lost confidence in.

“I think the best way is for everybody to be transparent about that and that’s what ended the situation.”

But Ryan refused to elaborate on why he lost confidence in Warriors’ bosses, insisting: “That’s not for now.”

At the time of his departure, O’Toole dismissed rumours suggesting Ryan had a disagreement with the board over money.

A month later Ryan secured a job as head of international player development at the Rugby Football Union.

Warriors then released a statement wishing Ryan good luck in his new role and O’Toole hoped his appointment “clarifies any lingering doubts that Warriors fans may have had for the reasons behind his departure and the type of role he was seeking”.

Ryan left the RFU in May this year to return to club management as he took the hotseat at Welsh Pro14 outfit Dragons.

The 53-year-old returned to Sixways this weekend as he faced Warriors for the first time since his exit, but his Dragons side lost 34-28.

“It’s just good to see some old faces,” Ryan said.

“I have moved around enough to be able to go back to some old grounds.

“This is one that I have got really fond memories of and the people here so I am certainly looking forward to catching up with them.

“I have got fond memories with lots of the playing group and I am really looking forward to seeing Cecil (Duckworth).

“I left for different reasons and those people are no longer at the club.”

After Ryan’s exit, Carl Hogg and Nick Johnston, who were head coach and high performance director respectively, stepped up to take a joint leadership role for the 2016-17 season.

Gary Gold was then appointed director of rugby in January 2017 as Warriors starved off relegation.

In response to Ryan’s comments, O’Toole said: “I see no point in engaging in a retrospective personal versioning of history regarding a club that no longer employs either of us.

“I would say I am comfortable about how we handled the challenging scenario that season and how we celebrated our Premiership survival.”

Warriors are now owned by Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham, who arrived in October 2018, with Alan Solomons replacing Gold as boss in December 2017.