Worcester to fight Wasps move

Date published: September 16 2014

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Worcester will fight tooth and nail if Wasps decide to carry through with their plan to relocate to the West Midlands.

Worcester will fight tooth and nail if Wasps decide to carry through with their plan to relocate to the West Midlands.

While Wasps are currently based in High Wycombe, they have been eager to move elsewhere for some time and recently it has emerged that they are considering a switch to Coventry's Ricoh Arena or to Alexander Stadium in Birmingham.

That switch could have major implications on the English rugby landscape, and the Warriors are particularly concerned having invested heavily in the West Midlands in recent times.

The Warriors have invested £1.5M in six regional academy centres as part of a scheme launched in May, with two of the centres in Birmingham and Coventry.

As a result they are understandably concerned about Wasps potentially moving into the area, and high performance manager Nick Johnston has told the Rugby Paper that the club would be quick to fight any move.

“What right have Wasps, if their model's not working where they are, to just move ship?” He told the Rugby Paper.

“If it's going to improve the game for game reasons – grass roots, developing young people – you've got to look at it, but if it's done purely on financial grounds you've got to question it.

“Wasps have got a few hurdles to cross and we're not going to roll over. We've invested heavily in the West Midlands and we won't be giving that investment up.”

While Worcester are the first club to voice their opposition to any potential move, Johnston believes they would not be alone in their attempts to block the switch.

“It's not just a Worcester problem this, it's Leicester's and Northampton's as well and I don't see how it could happen,” he added.

“If they're going to take territory off Worcester, they've got to take territory off those two as well and then there'd be a battle.

“Teams like Leicester and Northampton map the direction of Premiership rugby and as soon as those two get their feathers ruffled, which they will because they've also invested heavily around the Midlands, Wasps will face a fight.”

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