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Wednesday Sep 21, 2022

Worcester name 41-year-old academy coach in tonight's premiership cup clash

Worcester in the midst of a financial crisis have turned to their coaching team to take to the field for tonight’s Premiership Rugby Cup clash with Gloucester at Kingsholm.

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Jonny Goodridge, the 41-year-old Academy backs and transition coach at Worcester Warriors has been asked to put on his playing boots for the first time in nine years.

Goodridge was, in his playing days, a fantastic fullback for tonight’s opponents Gloucester. Despite having not played competitive rugby for almost a decade, he regularly takes part in the Worcester training sessions. So he may not quite be as sharp or as fast as he once was, but there’s no doubt the former premiership man will be able to handle himself should he come off the bench for his debut.

Another man pulling on his playing shirt again will be Mat Gilbert, the former England deaf international. Having retired in April to go and run his own pizza joint, the former Worcester and Bath player will feel he’s more than up to the task.

 

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Gilbert is one of the five guest players brought in from outside of the Warrior’s normal setup, alongside the likes of Ollie Curry, Lewis Barrett, Ethan Parkins, and Will Tanner.

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An exciting opportunity has also presented itself for many academy players to show their prowess including Alex Wills, Will Crouch, and Theo Mayall.

Despite the inclusion of the guest players and the opportunity to bring coaches into the team, Worcester still find themselves one player short of a full bench. This is no doubt due to their struggle dealing with debts totalling over £25million, including at least £6m in unpaid tax.

Warriors owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham have been accused of asset-stripping the club, with full salary payments to staff and players for August yet to be completed.

Just this Sunday it was claimed that a deal with new buyers was ready to go, prompting a response from assistant coach, Nick Easter.

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“The number of false promises to staff may well be in double figures now in less than a month. Wonder who will get the blame this time. ‘Computer said no’ maybe,” Easter said on Twitter.

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