Worcester Warriors

Worcester Warriors Rugby Football Club are a Professional English rugby union club, playing in the English Premiership. Warriors also compete in the Premiership Rugby Cup, European Challenge Cup, and Premiership Rugby Shield competitions. Their home ground is Sixways Stadium, and the team colours are gold and blue.

Worcester Warriors
Worcester Warriors logo.svg
Full nameWorcester Warriors Rugby Football Club
UnionNorth Midlands RFU
Founded1871; 150 years ago (1871)
LocationWorcester, Worcestershire, England
Ground(s)Sixways Stadium (Capacity: 11,499)
Director of RugbyAlan Solomons
Coach(es)Jonathan Thomas
Captain(s)Ted Hill
Most capsCraig Gillies (288)
Top scorerShane Drahm (726)
Most triesNick Baxter (88)[1]
League(s)Premiership Rugby
1st kit
2nd kit
Official website



The club was founded in 1871 by the Reverend Francis John Ede, with the first known game played against the Royal Artillery Rugby Club on 8 November 1871.[2] This game was played on Pitchcroft.[3] The club began playing at Bevere in Worcester in 1954 and left Bevere for Sixways in 1975 when the clubhouse was opened. When the league system was formed, the club was placed in North Midlands Division One, a level eight league.


Due to extensive support from their backer Cecil Duckworth, the club were able to build a strong team, with promotion after promotion following. In 2006, extremely ambitious plans were announced for a £23 million development programme, which would see a health club with fitness centre and swimming pool, fully tarmacked park and ride area, and expanded capacity to 11,499.

Promotion to the PremiershipEdit

The badge used by Worcester Warriors until 2008

Worcester Warriors were promoted to the (then Zurich) Premiership after winning National Division One in 2003–04 with a perfect record of 26 wins from 26 games, something that had never before been achieved. They were the bookies', and many of the rugby pundits' odds-on-favourites to go straight back down but defied the odds to stay in the Premiership for another season, finishing ninth in the league, after wins against teams including Harlequins, Leeds, a historic victory against Premiership Champions London Wasps and Northampton in a 'winner takes all' end of season finale, which they won 21–19. This match was shown live with more twists and turns off the pitch as well as on it, with then Northampton player, Shane Drahm, who had signed for Worcester eventually starting, and successfully kicking almost everything, after press releases by Northampton stating that he would be a substitute. In the 2004–05 season, despite Premiership survival being their ultimate aim, they reached the final of the defunct European Shield at Oxford's Kassam Stadium, after beating Leeds Tykes in the semi-final. They eventually lost out to the French side Auch. They also managed to achieve a play-off match for the Heineken Cup against Saracens, but their long fight for Premiership survival and an injury-ravaged squad meant that they lost. Their achievements for that season meant that they had achieved much more than they had originally hoped for, as well as earning the respect of the other Premiership sides in the process.

In the 2005–06 season, they reached the quarter–finals of the European Challenge Cup after finishing top of their pool with five wins out of a possible six, above Connacht, Montpellier Hérault and Amatori Catania, and faced an away match against Northampton Saints on April Fool's Day, which they won, in what was described by sports writers as some of the best rugby they have played all season. They reached the semi – finals where they faced Gloucester Rugby in a local derby showdown, it being the third time they had played Gloucester that season, with the European match being played the week after the Premiership match at Kingsholm. Despite playing some thrilling rugby, and looking much more solid as a team than the previous week's Premiership performance, they were knocked out of the competition. The European Challenge Cup was then a much more important competition to Worcester as it offered them a route into the Heineken Cup. In the 2005–06 Guinness Premiership, they avoided relegation and were safe much earlier in the season, which meant that they avoided a repeat of last years relegation battle on the last day of the season. The season culminated in an eighth-place finish in the league on 47 points, one place higher than 2004–05, with the same number of wins (9) but more bonus points and a draw, missing 7th position due to Newcastle Falcons having a better points difference, secured on the last day of the season. This was a huge achievement considering that this is still only their second season in rugby's top flight.

In the 2006–07 season Worcester didn't get off to a very good start and for the majority of the season they were positioned in 12th place, but a good run of form which involved beating some of the top sides in the Premiership, helping them to avoid relegation and send the former Heineken Cup champions Northampton Saints down into National Division One.

Established in the PremiershipEdit

For the 2007–08 season Worcester had brought in several big name players, the best known being the All Black Rico Gear. But they again didn't start off very well in the Premiership and did not record their first victory until after Christmas. While they were struggling in the premiership they were enjoying good success in the European Challenge Cup (ECC), progressing through the group stages. After Christmas their premiership formed picked up and they beat top teams such as Leicester Tigers and Sale Sharks, which subsequently saw them move out of the relegation zone, Leeds Carnegie replacing them. They progressed even further in the ECC and beat off Montpellier Hérault RC in the quarter-final and saw off Newcastle Falcons in the semi-final which set up a final against Bath. Leeds Carnegie could not survive relegation and were relegated well before the end of the season. The final against Bath resulted in a 24–16 defeat in a one-sided game.[4]

In 2008 Worcester pulled off one of their largest signings ever by signing Australian international Chris Latham from the Queensland Reds, for the 2008–09 season on a three-year deal.[5] The season again didn't go the way it was planned but Worcester still progressed in the ECC and pulled off home and away victories over local rivals Gloucester and London Wasps in the league. However the season ended disappointingly (after Worcester suffered a succession of serious injuries), losing in the semi-final of the European Challenge Cup to Bourgoin.

Relegation from the PremiershipEdit

After the disappointment of the 2008–09 Guinness Premiership season, the Warriors made a bright start to the 2009–10 Guinness Premiership season. Either side of a loss to Wasps, they had convincing wins over newly promoted Leeds Carnegie and over Sale Sharks, only their second home win over Sale since they joined the top flight in 2004–05, which was then followed by an unlucky loss at champions Leicester Tigers. A poor spell followed with 10 games without a win. During the winless spell, the club did become the first Premiership team to draw four games in a season and the first team to draw three successive league games. Following this bad spell, the Warriors secured a much needed 13–0 victory over Newcastle at Sixways, before another six consecutive losses. On 25 April, the Warriors were relegated from the Premiership after a 12–10 loss away to Leeds Carnegie, their first relegation in 22 years. They played the 2010–11 season in the Championship with Richard Hill as the new head coach, on a 2-year contract and Chris Pennell as the new captain.

Return to the PremiershipEdit

The 2010–11 season saw Worcester win 30 out of 31 games in the Championship, losing the only game to the Cornish Pirates in the main season at Sixways. Worcester were top of the league and top of their stage 2 group. After winning the play-off against Bedford Blues at Sixways and the both legs of the play-off final, Worcester secured promotion to the Premiership for the 2011–12 season.[6] Before the season began, there were local news reports that Worcester Warriors aimed to build a Hilton Hotel on the Sixways site, whilst also building a health and leisure facility and potentially expanding the North Stand.[7] Hill left the Warriors in April 2013 and was replaced by Dean Ryan.[8]

2013 OnwardsEdit

Ryan couldn't keep the Warriors in the league in his first season in charge and the club was once again relegated to England's second tier. However, after releasing a number of older players the club began a rebuilding phase led by Ryan who recruited young talents unable to get game-time at big clubs.[9] Warriors achieved promotion back to the Premiership at their first attempt, beating Bristol in the playoffs thanks to a last minute Chris Pennell try and Ryan Lamb conversion.[10] The club also managed to win the B&I Cup defeating Doncaster 35–5.[11] Warriors' first season back in the Aviva Premiership during the 2015/16 campaign was a successful one following the redevelopment of the Indoor Training Centre, which became a state-of-the-art High Performance Centre to give Warriors some of the best training facilities in the country.[12] The club also made a number of high-profile signings in Francois Hougaard, Donncha O'Callaghan and Wynand Olivier and finished the season in tenth position after winning seven games.[13] In 2016/17 the club finished 11th after a strong finish to the season under new Director of Rugby Gary Gold. Warriors scored a club record of 56 tries in the league. Gold left Worcester in early 2018 and was replaced as DOR by Alan Solomons who guided Worcester to another 11th-place finish in 2017/18.


Worcester have developed two main rivalries in their recent history with Gloucester and Rotherham.

The rivalry with Rotherham stemmed from the clubs meeting each other numerous times in The Championship between 1998 and 2003. Since Worcester gained promotion to The Championship in 1998 the two clubs were constantly at the top end of the table together, battling for the solitary promotion place. In the four seasons they were both in the league, between 1998 and 2003, Rotherham finished 2nd once and 1st three times, whilst Worcester finished 3rd twice and 2nd twice. Due to both teams consistently doing well in the league and tensions between the two clubs high off the pitch, the games often attracted bigger crowds and greater media interest than usual. The importance of the clashes and the rivalry that developed led to the two clubs being dubbed 'The Celtic and Rangers' of their division.[14]

After two close league games in the 2001–02 season, which saw Worcester win the game at Sixways in September by two points thanks to a Tim Walsh drop goal and Rotherham win the game at Clifton Lane in January by 10 points the Rivalry peaked the following season, 2002–03. Rotherham had won the 2001–02 Championship losing just two games with Worcester finishing 2nd having lost three games. However, Rotherham were denied promotion based on the fact that there stadium, Clifton Lane, was not at the required standard. To rectify this and meet premiership stadium criteria, in time for the 2002/03 season Rotherham moved stadiums to Millmoor and shared it with Rotherham United FC.

The first meeting of the 2002–03 campaign between the two teams came at Millmoor on 23 November. Despite being fairly early on in the season, a big five-point win for Rotherham in front of over 4,000 fans, including a sizeable away following from Worcester, was a huge step in Rotherham winning the league and gaining promotion. This encounter was yet again a very heated and physical battle. Worcester were well on top during the first half and went into the interval 13–6 ahead thanks to a Chris Garrard try and some excellent game management from fly half Tim Walsh. However, the second half was a completely different affair and with Worcester's Chris Garrard sent off for a dangerous tackle on Jacob Raulini and Steve Caine sin binned, Rotherham, spurred on by their biggest and most vociferous crowd of the season, scored 32 unanswered points, including four tries to complete a demolition of Worcester.[15]

Despite the big win for Rotherham at Millmoor, Worcester only lost one game until the two teams met again at Sixways in April, winning 12 league games and losing only away to Orrell. This ensured they kept in contact with Rotherham at the top of the table. The game at Sixways was the third last game of the season and, with the sides neck and neck in the league, the winner would almost certainly gain a place in The Premiership. Worcester had gone 20 games and 18 months since their last home loss, which was to Rotherham in September 2001.[16] The game was the first Championship match to be broadcast live on Sky Sports and the game also saw the record attendance for a Championship game, with temporary stands constructed to ensure 5,700 fans could watch. Rotherham brought a 1,000 strong contingent, almost all of whom were sat in the North Stand at Sixways, in what was virtual segregation. The first half of the game was extremely tense, with Rotherham leading 9–3 at half time. However the second half saw Rotherham score two tries in 10 minutes which put the game out of Worcester's reach. Rotherham went on to win the game 21–9, which spark wild celebrations and a pitch invasion from the Rotherham fans.[14]

Rotherham are often considered as Worcester's rivals by those fans who watched Worcester before 2004. However, because Worcester's average attendances have more than doubled since then, a large percentage of the Worcester fan base, many of them newer supporters, see Gloucester as Worcester's main rivals. This is predominantly because of playing them regularly since gaining promotion to The Premiership in 2004, the geographical closeness of the two Cities and various media sources citing the game as a derby.[17]

Season summariesEdit

Premiership Domestic Cup European Cup
Season Competition Final Position Points Play-Offs Competition Performance Competition Performance
1987–88 Midlands 2 West 8th 8 N/A John Player Cup Did not play No competition N/A
1988–89 Midlands 2 West 11th (R) 3 N/A Pilkington Cup Did not play
1989–90 North Midlands 1 1st (P) 16 N/A Pilkington Cup Did not play
1990–91 Midlands 2 West 5th 10 N/A Pilkington Cup Did not play
1991–92 Midlands 2 West 3rd 14 N/A Pilkington Cup Did not play
1992–93 Midlands 2[a] 2nd (P) 18 N/A Pilkington Cup 2nd round
1993–94 Midlands 1 2nd 16 N/A Pilkington Cup Did not play
1994–95 Midlands 1 1st (P) 23 N/A Pilkington Cup Did not play
1995–96 Courage Division 5 North 2nd (P) 18 N/A Pilkington Cup 4th round No English teams N/A
1996–97 Courage Division 4 North 1st (P) 49 N/A Pilkington Cup 2nd round Not qualified N/A
1997–98 National League 1 1st (P) 48 N/A Tetley's Bitter Cup 5th round
1998–99 Allied Dunbar Premiership 2 3rd 34 N/A Tetley's Bitter Cup 4th round No English teams N/A
C&G Cup 1st round
1999–00 Allied Dunbar Premiership 2 3rd 38 N/A Tetley's Bitter Cup 4th round Not qualified N/A
2000–01 National Division 1 2nd 112 N/A Tetley's Bitter Cup 5th round
2001–02 National Division 1 2nd 106 N/A Powergen Cup 5th round
2002–03 National Division 1 2nd 114 N/A Powergen Cup 6th round
Powergen Shield Semi-final
2003–04 National Division 1 1st (P) 125 N/A Powergen Cup 5th round
2004–05 Zurich Premiership 9th 42 - Powergen Cup 6th round European Shield Runners-up
2005–06 Guinness Premiership 8th 47 - Powergen Cup 4th in pool Challenge Cup Semi-final
2006–07 Guinness Premiership 11th 34 - EDF Energy Cup 2nd in pool Challenge Cup 2nd in pool
2007–08 Guinness Premiership 10th 36 - EDF Energy Cup 4th in pool Challenge Cup Runners-up
2008–09 Guinness Premiership 11th 34 - EDF Energy Cup 4th in pool Challenge Cup Semi-final
2009–10 Guinness Premiership 12th (R) 28 - LV= Cup 4th in pool Challenge Cup 3rd in pool
2010–11 RFU Championship 1st (P) 101 Champ­ions British and Irish Cup Semi-final Not qualified N/A
2011–12 Aviva Premiership 10th 36 - LV= Cup 3rd in pool Challenge Cup 2nd in pool
2012–13 Aviva Premiership 11th 33 - LV= Cup 4th in pool Challenge Cup 2nd in pool
2013–14 Aviva Premiership 12th (R) 16 - LV= Cup 4th in pool Challenge Cup 4th in pool
2014–15 RFU Championship 2nd (P) 97 Champ­ions British and Irish Cup Champions Not qualified N/A
2015–16 Aviva Premiership 10th 35 - No competition N/A Challenge Cup 4th in pool
2016–17 Aviva Premiership 11th 33 - Anglo-Welsh Cup 4th in pool Challenge Cup 3rd in pool
2017–18 Aviva Premiership 11th 36 - Anglo-Welsh Cup 2nd in pool Challenge Cup 3rd in pool
2018–19 Gallagher Premiership 10th 46 - Premiership Cup Semi-final Challenge Cup Quarter-final
2019–20 Gallagher Premiership 9th 42 - Premiership Cup 4th in pool Challenge Cup 3rd in pool
2020–21 Gallagher Premiership 12th[b] 27 - No Competition - Challenge Cup 11th in pool

Gold background denotes champions
Silver background denotes runners-up
Pink background denotes relegated

* After dropping into the competition from the Challenge Cup

Club honoursEdit

Worcester WarriorsEdit

Worcester CavaliersEdit

Current squadEdit

The Worcester Warriors squad for the 2021–22 season is:[18]

Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.

Player Position Union
Niall Annett Hooker   Ireland
Scott Baldwin Hooker   Wales
Beck Cutting Hooker   England
Isaac Miller Hooker   Scotland
Christian Judge Prop   England
Joe Morris Prop   England
Kai Owen Prop   England
Jack Owlett Prop   Scotland
Rory Sutherland Prop   Scotland
Marc Thomas Prop   Wales
Jay Tyack Prop   England
Ethan Waller Prop   England
Joe Batley Lock   England
Anton Bresler Lock   Namibia
Justin Clegg Lock   England
Matt Garvey Lock   England
Andrew Kitchener Lock   England
Graham Kitchener Lock   England
James Scott Lock   England
Tom Dodd Back row   Scotland
Kyle Hatherell Back row   South Africa
Ted Hill (c) Back row   England
Matt Kvesic Back row   England
Sam Lewis Back row   Wales
Sione Vailanu Back row   Tonga
Player Position Union
Will Chudley Scrum-half   England
Willi Heinz Scrum-half   England
Gareth Simpson Scrum-half   England
Billy Searle Fly-half   England
Jamie Shillcock Fly-half   England
Owen Williams Fly-half   Wales
Ashley Beck Centre   Wales
Will Butler Centre   England
Ollie Lawrence Centre   England
Oli Morris Centre   Ireland
Francois Venter Centre   South Africa
Chris Ashton Wing   England
Harri Doel Wing   Wales
Alex Hearle Wing   England
Tom Howe Wing   England
Perry Humphreys Wing   England
Jack Johnson Wing   England
Duhan van der Merwe Wing   Scotland
Noah Heward Fullback   England
Melani Nanai Fullback   Samoa

Academy squadEdit

The Worcester Warriors academy squad is:[19]

Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.

Player Position Union
Joe Richardson Hooker   England
Finn Theobald-Thomas Hooker   England
Lewis Holsey Prop   England
Ben Murphy Prop   Wales
Cheick Kone Lock   England
Jack Forsythe Back row   England
Morgan Monks Back row   England
Player Position Union
Tom Miles Scrum-half   England
Ollie Wynn Scrum-half   England
Fin Smith Fly-half   England
Seb Atkinson Centre   England
Tobi Wilson Fullback   England

Club staffEdit

First Team Coaching


  • Academy Manager: Mike Hall
  • Academy Forwards Development Coach: Chris Morgan
  • Academy Backs Development Coach: Jonny Goodridge[20]

Rugby World CupEdit

The following are players who have represented their countries at the World Cup, whilst playing for Worcester:

Position Country Tournament
Sililo Martens Scrum-half   Tonga 1999
Sateki Tuipulotu Fullback   Tonga 1999
Ben Hinshelwood Wing   Scotland 2003
Chris Horsman Prop   Wales 2007
Netani Talei Number eight   Fiji 2007
Aisea Havili Wing   Tonga 2007
Loki Crichton Fullback   Samoa 2007
Aleki Lutui Hooker   Tonga 2007 and 2011
Ravai Fatiaki Centre   Fiji 2011
Jaba Bregvadze Hooker   Georgia 2015
Tevita Cavubati Lock   Fiji 2015
Joe Taufete'e Hooker   USA 2019
Ed Fidow Wing   Samoa 2019


The club's kit is made by sports manufacturer O'Neills, who they signed with in 2020 to produce home and away strips for Premiership Rugby.[21] Their main shirt sponsor is Adam Hewitt Ltd.[22] In 2019, the club signed a multi-year deal with Aramis Rugby to supply digital scrum machines.[23]

Charitable CausesEdit

Acorns Children's Hospice has been the official charity partner of Warriors since the facility opened in March 2005. The club have raised in excess of £200,000 to assist the charity since its inception and this season hooker Niall Annett is the charity's Player Ambassador.

Cecil Duckworth is a trustee of the Wooden Spoon, the charity of British rugby, supporting disadvantaged children. In January 2007, Worcester opened a "Playing for Success" centre, supported by Spoon.


  1. ^ Restructuring ahead of the 1992–93 season saw Midlands 2 East and Midlands 2 West combined into a single division called Midlands 2.
  2. ^ Despite finishing bottom of the table Warriors were reprieved of relegation due to a moratorium.


  1. ^ "Worcester Statistics (to 2007)" (PDF). RFU.com. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
  2. ^ "Worcester Warriors History". Talk Rugby Union. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  3. ^ Not Just a Racecourse Judd Doughty Worcestershire Life June 2010 p42
  4. ^ "Warriors suffer European cup final misery". Warriors.co.uk. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
  5. ^ "Warriors sign superstar Latham". Warriors.co.uk. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
  6. ^ "Worcester Warriors 25–20 Cornish Pirates (agg 46–32)". BBC Sport. BBC News. 18 May 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
  7. ^ Guest, Tom (19 August 2011). "Plans could see Hilton hotel built in city". Worcester News. Retrieved 22 August 2011.
  8. ^ "Worcester Warriors: Dean Ryan named director of rugby". BBC Sport. 17 April 2013. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
  9. ^ "Ryan aware of pitfalls". The Independent.
  10. ^ "Warriors 59-58 Bristol". BBC Sport. BBC Sport.
  11. ^ "Warriors win B&I Cup". BBC Sport. BBC Sport.
  12. ^ "Sixways set for revamp". Worcester News. Worcester News.
  13. ^ "Table 2015/16". Aviva Premierhsip. Aviva Premierhsip.
  14. ^ a b "Rotherham take it all". The Guardian. 13 April 2003. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  15. ^ "Rotherham Titans 38 - 13 Worcester Warriors". Worcester Warriors. 23 November 2002.
  16. ^ "Results & Fixtures: Comprehensive 2002–03". Worcester Warriors.
  17. ^ "Worcester Warriors call up Blair Cowan for tonight's big Gloucester derby". Worcester News. 22 February 2013.
  18. ^ "First Team". Worcester Warriors. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  19. ^ "Academy Squad". Worcester Warriors. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  20. ^ "Rugby Management". Warriors.co.uk. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  21. ^ "Worcester Warriors | Warriors sign major new kit deal with O'Neills". warriors.co.uk. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
  22. ^ "Worcester Warriors | Adam Hewitt Ltd unveiled as Warriors' Main Partner". warriors.co.uk. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
  23. ^ "Warriors appoint Aramis as scrum machine supplier" (Press release). Worcester Warriors. 17 September 2019. Retrieved 15 June 2020.

External linksEdit