You will have seen in the news about Worcester Warriors being suspended from all competitions, and subsequently going into administration. You will also have read that Wasps are facing significant financial challenges, and have given notice of applying for administration.
Firstly, I wanted to say that I’m sure, like me, you have huge sympathy for the staff, players and fans of those clubs going through that uncertainty. We may be rivals on the pitch, but not off it – they’re all people like you and me.
You may also have seen speculation in the press and on social media about the overall financial state of English club rugby.
I wanted to take a moment to give you a few facts, and to reassure you about the position that we are in at Gloucester Rugby.
Through careful planning, the efforts of our fantastic staff across the organisation, and, of course the tremendous support we enjoy from our fans and business partners, our financial position is the best it’s been for many years. As we emerge from the impact of Covid our operating profitability is heading towards positive levels, and last year saw our highest ever turnover. We have developed a five-year plan which shows both those key measurements continuing to improve.
We’re not where we want to be yet, but we are heading firmly in the right direction.
You may have read that both Worcester and Wasps have significant debts with HMRC. We do not owe anything to HMRC.
There was an article in an online newspaper a couple of weeks ago which ended up being widely shared which suggested that Gloucester Rugby’s debt was around £27 million. That figure is completely wrong. Our debts are nowhere near that level. It is reasonable to assume that as that newspaper got our numbers so wrong, that their other numbers are also wrong.
We did take out a loan from DCMS as part of the Sports Survival Package (every Premiership club took out a similar loan, some for more, some for less than ours). We have robust plans in place which will allow us to pay back that loan when the payments become due in a couple of years’ time. The repayment period is over many years, so will not put undue pressure on us.
Unfortunately, Worcester being suspended from competition and then going into administration means that our scheduled game against them on Saturday has been called off. It has not yet been decided whether it is postponed or cancelled. That will depend to some extent on how quickly Worcester are able to come out of administration. If it happens quickly, and only a game or two are missed, then I expect the game will be rescheduled. If not then I expect it will be cancelled.
Having a home game cancelled does, of course, have a significant financial impact on us. It also has an impact on the many local businesses that depend on Gloucester Rugby match days to boost their income. As a fan of the Club, and perhaps as someone who enjoys a pre-match routine at local pubs or restaurants, the one big thing that you could do to help is to come to more games, buy one more pint, buy one more pie.
If everyone came to one more game than they had planned to do this season, that would overcome the impact of the potential cancellation of Worcester game – on both your Club and all those local businesses.
And with the way the squad is playing this year, you’re pretty much guaranteed a really exciting day out. Our next home game is against Bristol on Saturday 15th October, and the one after that is against Exeter on Friday 28th October. You can buy your tickets here.
We have announced an open training session on Saturday instead of the game. If you haven’t been to Kingsholm so far this season do please come and join us. It’s free to get in (although you will need a ticket – click here for yours), so why not bring the whole family? You’ll have a chance not only to watch the senior men’s team train, but also to meet the players afterwards. Full details are here. You can even get your rugby match fix by staying on in the Stowford Clubhouse to watch the Saracens v Leicester game with us on BT Sport.
We look forward to welcoming you to Kingsholm soon.
Tom Wood to captain Barbarians for showdown with Saints
Northampton Saints legend Tom Wood will lead out Barbarian F.C. at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens for tomorrow afternoon’s clash between the two sides.The world-famous invitational side will lock horns with the men in Black, Green and Gold for the first time in history on Saturday (kick-off: 3pm), and with Saints close to full strength for the exhibition match, the BaaBaas have selected a side packed with star quality to run out in Northampton.Wood captains the team and lines up in the No.8 jersey alongside Cardiff Rugby flanker Olly Robinson and former Wasps back row Ben Morris.Elliott Stooke and Graham Kitchener – formerly of Wasps and Worcester Warriors respectively – are selected in the engine room, with an explosive front row including Scotland international Murray McCallum, All Black Hika Elliot, and Stormers tighthead Brok Harris.Former England international Danny Cipriani starts at fly-half, with Gareth Simpson in the No.9 jersey and Wales international Owen Williams filling a second playmaker role at inside centre.Outside the former Worcester player in midfield is another Saints legend in Luther Burrell, who runs out at the Gardens berth for one final appearance in the UK before making the switch to Japan.And the Barbarians’ back-three is full of pace and power with England’s Marland Yarde and Zach Kibirige set to start on the wings, with Wales international Jonah Holmes completing the line-up at fullback.A limited number of tickets remain for the fixture, starting from £22 adult / £8 junior*. PLEASE CLICK HERE to purchase now.BARBARIAN F.C. SIDE TO FACE NORTHAMPTON SAINTSSaturday 26 November 2022cinch Stadium at Franklin’s GardensKick-off: 3pm15 Jonah Holmes14 Zach Kibirige13 Luther Burrell12 Owen Williams11 Marland Yarde10 Danny Cipriani9 Gareth Simpson1 Murray McCallum2 Hika Elliot3 Brok Harris4 Graham Kitchener5 Elliott Stooke6 Ben Morris7 Olly Robinson8 Tom Wood (c)Replacements:16 Tevita Ikanivere17 Ben Harris18 Elliot Millar-Mills19 Lloyd Ashley20 Will Boyde21 Francois Hougaard22 Mali Hingano23 Perry Humphreys
Northampton Saints legend Tom Wood will lead out Barbarian F.C. at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens for tomorrow afternoon’s clash between the two sides.
The world-famous invitational side will lock horns with the men in Black, Green and Gold for the first time in history on Saturday (kick-off: 3pm), and with Saints close to full strength for the exhibition match, the BaaBaas have selected a side packed with star quality to run out in Northampton.
Wood captains the team and lines up in the No.8 jersey alongside Cardiff Rugby flanker Olly Robinson and former Wasps back row Ben Morris.
Elliott Stooke and Graham Kitchener – formerly of Wasps and Worcester Warriors respectively – are selected in the engine room, with an explosive front row including Scotland international Murray McCallum, All Black Hika Elliot, and Stormers tighthead Brok Harris.
Former England international Danny Cipriani starts at fly-half, with Gareth Simpson in the No.9 jersey and Wales international Owen Williams filling a second playmaker role at inside centre.
Outside the former Worcester player in midfield is another Saints legend in Luther Burrell, who runs out at the Gardens berth for one final appearance in the UK before making the switch to Japan.
And the Barbarians’ back-three is full of pace and power with England’s Marland Yarde and Zach Kibirige set to start on the wings, with Wales international Jonah Holmes completing the line-up at fullback.
A limited number of tickets remain for the fixture, starting from £22 adult / £8 junior*. PLEASE CLICK HERE to purchase now.
BARBARIAN F.C. SIDE TO FACE NORTHAMPTON SAINTS
Saturday 26 November 2022
cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens
15 Jonah Holmes
14 Zach Kibirige
13 Luther Burrell
12 Owen Williams
11 Marland Yarde
10 Danny Cipriani
9 Gareth Simpson
1 Murray McCallum
2 Hika Elliot
3 Brok Harris
4 Graham Kitchener
5 Elliott Stooke
6 Ben Morris
7 Olly Robinson
8 Tom Wood (c)
16 Tevita Ikanivere
17 Ben Harris
18 Elliot Millar-Mills
19 Lloyd Ashley
20 Will Boyde
21 Francois Hougaard
22 Mali Hingano
23 Perry Humphreys
TEAM NEWS | Sale Sharks v Bristol Bears
Sam James makes his 200th Sharks appearance, Cobus Wiese and Akker van der Merwe return from injury and Rouban Birch and Kieran Wilkinson are rewarded for their cup heroics with places on the replacements bench for the Saturday lunchtime Premiership clash with Bristol Bears (KO 1pm – live on BT Sport).
Jean-Luc and Dan du Preez also return to the Sharks line-up after featuring for South Africa A, while Jono Ross captains the side for the round 11 showdown with Pat Lam’s men.
Springbok hooker Van der Merwe returns to the number two shirt after six weeks out with an ankle injury picked up against London Irish in October, and he takes his place in the front row between the experienced pair of Ross Harrison and Nick Schonert.
Wiese also returns from ankle lay-off to partner Josh Beaumont in the second row, while the Du Preez twins line-up alongside skipper Ross in the back row.
Gus Warr lines up again at scrum-half alongside fly-half Rob du Preez, and in the centres, Sam Hill starts with the ever-present Sam James, who plays his 200th game for his boyhood club.
Tom Roebuck and Byron McGuigan start on the wings, with full-back Joe Carpenter making up a pacy back three.
Academy products Tommy Taylor and fit-again Simon McIntyre provide front-row cover on the bench, along with Joe Jones, who will be playing his 50th Sharks game if he takes the field.
Sam Dugdale and Friday night’s Premiership Rugby Cup player of the match Birch cover the rest of the forwards.
Joe Simpson, Wilkinson and Arron Reed are the backs replacements.
Sale Sharks Starting XV:
15. Joe Carpenter, 14. Tom Roebuck, 13. Sam James, 12. Sam Hill, 11. Byron McGuigan, 10. Robert du Preez, 9. Gus Warr; 1. Ross Harrison, 2. Akker van der Merwe, 3. Nick Schonert, 4. Cobus Wiese, 5. Josh Beaumont, 6. JL du Preez, 7. Jono Ross ©, 8. Daniel du Preez
16. Tommy Taylor, 17. Simon McIntyre, 18. Joe Jones, 19. Rouban Birch, 20. Sam Dugdale, 21. Joe Simpson, 22. Kieran Wilkinson, 23. Arron Reed.
Images & Content from Sale Sharks Rugby
Falcons forward heads to France
Thursday 24 November 2022
Lock-forward George Merrick has left Newcastle Falcons to join a French club with immediate effect.
The 30-year-old has made 13 appearances since joining from Worcester Warriors in the summer of 2021, and leaves with the thanks and best wishes of the club.
Newcastle Falcons head coach Dave Walder said: “George has been offered an exciting playing opportunity over in France and we wish him all the best for his move.
“He has been a positive presence around our squad during his time here, and on behalf of the entire coaching team I’d like to thank him for his contribution.”
Merrick said: “I’ve loved my time in Newcastle with a great bunch of boys, and I’m looking forward now to this new challenge.”
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