Despite hosting their Premiership fixture against Exeter Chiefs on Sunday, Worcester Warriors’ future is far from being sorted out according to the beleaguered club’s director of rugby Steve Diamond.
Although the Rugby Football Union (RFU) has said it will continue to work in tandem with the Sixways-based outfit’s owners with regards to financing and possible new buyers, the club’s debts are currently at £25million with several players and staff still waiting on their full salaries to be paid for the month of August.
Speaking after his club’s 36-21 loss to Exeter at Sixways on Sunday, Diamond said: “I don’t know how long we can keep going with this as I’ve been informed that negotiations are taking place behind the scenes but I’m not party to them.
“In the professional era, no director of rugby should be required to deal with such a situation as the players haven’t been paid their August salaries.
“There are limits to how many times players or staff can turn out on goodwill without being paid and it’s impossible for anyone to work without any internet and heating with winter around the corner.
“We are hoping to fulfil the fixture with Gloucester on Wednesday. We wanted to bring in a few loan players but at present we can’t afford to pay the RFU the appropriate sum.
“I’m hoping the money we’ve taken today can be used and not disappear down a black hole as we are on the never-never at the moment.
“Realistically I don’t know how long we can keep going for with the winding-up application due in late September, a line has to be drawn somewhere.”
Worcester delivered a brave and passionate performance despite their off-field issues but Exeter dominated for long periods. The Chiefs outscored their hosts by five tries to three with Richard Capstick leading the way for the Devon-based club with a brace while Olly Woodburn, Jack Maunder and Joe Simmonds also dotting down.
Alex Hearle, Gareth Simpson and Ollie Lawrence scored Worcester’s tries but despite showing plenty of commitment it wasn’t enough and the Warriors suffered their second successive Premiership defeat.
“I’m very proud as it was a huge-hearted performance but the players will still get a b*****king as we conceded 16 penalties, lost half our line-outs and scored from only three of our 10 incursions into their 22,” said Diamond.
“Despite all the off-field hullabaloo, we need to be better than that.”
Worcester captain Francois Venter added: “What’s going on in the background is mentally tough but hopefully it will get sorted. We still don’t know the position but it will be very upsetting if it’s our last game on this pitch.”
The result means Exeter now have two successive victories this season and, despite always appearing to hold an edge, Chiefs head coach Ali Hepher revealed that they always expected a tough challenge.
“At the start of the day, we knew the game would be tough as they would be very high on motivation,” he said.
“We did things right in the first half but we then went off-script before bouncing through it to get the tries when we needed them.
“Their crowd was fantastic and we hope things work out for them as we love coming here as it’s always a competitive game.”