Friday, December 9, 2022

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Lawrence: Worcester players abandoned by owners

England center Ollie Lawrence has revealed his pain at Worcester’s death, firing a broadside at co-owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham.

Worcester have been suspended from the Gallagher Premier League and will be relegated at the end of this season following the partial liquidation of Warriors last week, with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) claiming £6million in unpaid taxes.

Administrators continue to work to find a buyer for the ailing team, while a number of players have left for new clubs.

Among them is Lawrence, who has signed a long-term contract with Bath, but he admits the events that transpired in Worcester are unlikely to ever sink in.

Goldring and Whittingham have even attacked Worcester players and fans, effectively blaming them for the club’s financial woes in a public statement that caused outrage.

“I currently live in Worcester and commute back and forth. Until I move here (Bath) I don’t think it will fully catch on. I don’t think it ever will, to be honest,” he said.

“We felt let down by our owners. I think if we had known a little more about their financial woes the boys would have had more time to look elsewhere.

“We seemed to be falling behind most of the time and we were the ones going out at the weekends and trying to put in shifts for each other, knowing we might not even be a club for the next few weeks.

“There’s an element of frustration, of feeling let down and just disappointed that they were allowed to do what they did.

“Now that everything is going on, hopefully everything will unfold and everything will come out about what has been going on at the club.

“When this statement was released, it didn’t make sense or didn’t sit well with a lot of people.

“They had to take responsibility for what they did because at the end of the day they cannot blame the players for the situation they found themselves in.

“They gave us contracts, they agreed to the terms. If they couldn’t afford to keep the club, they should have made that clear earlier.

“There was no communication, and the one time we got communication, it was basically a slate.

“Blaming fans who say there should have been more to games, they were just trying to find excuses to make themselves look better when in reality they’re just making themselves look worse.”

Lawrence has been joined at Bath by former Warriors colleagues Ted Hill, Fergus Lee-Warner and Valery Morozov, while Duhan van der Merwe has returned to Edinburgh, Joe Batley has returned to Bristol and Saracens have signed Warriors wing Tom Howe and Andrew Kitchener has shorted -term deals.

Lawrence now needs to focus on Bath, where he will hope to regain England’s recognition and add to his seven-cap tally.

But he added: “Whatever is going on with the situation at the club (Worcester), we would like to see them back in the Premiership and be part of the league for a long time.

“The club has so much history and there are a lot of guys who need the club to survive.

“We all want what is best for the club and nobody in the rugby community would have wanted to see what happened to them.

“I am concerned about what is happening and will always have my attention in the corner of my eye to make sure my friends and belongings are taken care of.

“It’s not looking good for the future but hopefully they can find a new owner with fingers crossed and build back from the championship.”

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