Rugby Union

London Irish 45-14 Worcester: Warriors suffer defeat

London Irish 45-14 Worcester: Warriors suffer defeat but financial concerns are prevalent for Steve Diamond’s side

  • Worcester Warriors suffered a 45-14 defeat in their clash with London Irish
  • Steve Diamond’s side are continuing to endure financial difficulties 
  • Diamond suggested that there may soon be news of a potential investor

As Steve Diamond took his seat at the post-match press conference table, he excused himself for having his mouth full of pizza. ‘It might be my last meal,’ he joked.

Moments earlier, the coach of financially troubled Worcester had been locked out of the room, peering through a narrow fire-exit window pondering his side’s opening-day defeat by London Irish. Not much has gone his way recently. Gallows humour is essential.

‘If we didn’t fulfil the fixture today then we were out of it, we were f*****,’ he said. ‘We managed to play the fixture, not very well I might add, but now we need to improve.

Worcester Warriors suffered a 45-14 defeat in their game against London Irish

‘We were beaten by a fitter side and we’ve got to catch up quickly. I got up this morning thinking it would be a 30-pointer. I didn’t tell that to the lads. We made some basic errors but, to a man, they all stuck to their job. I’m not embarrassed. I’ve had worse defeats than that.’

With the club on the brink of going under, and wages paid late, the pent-up frustration was evident in the early exchanges. Worcester went out looking for collisions, frothing for the fight. A powerful charge from Ollie Lawrence got them into London Irish territory but they could not finish the job. The hosts were stronger and better conditioned, driving them back almost 40 metres, from the try-line to half-way.

Steve Diamonds, Worcester director of rugby, said there may soon be news of a potential investor

‘There was an interesting emotional energy around the whole day,’ said London Irish’s coach, Les Kiss. ‘The bigger situation about the Queen and the narrative around their situation. We talked about how we could manage the situations. Our early defence was brilliant and didn’t allow their spark to grow.’

Within 10 minutes, half of the stand could hear Diamond shouting instructions about his side’s ill-discipline. Worcester conceded penalties at the breakdown and the scrum — eight to zero at one point — and it cost them. It undermined any attacking endeavour and gave field position to the hosts, who took advantage.

Wing Ollie Hassell-Collins enjoyed a grand day out, playing a key role in the build up to Ben Donnell’s and Ben White’s opening tries. Where Worcester’s finishing was sloppy, their rivals were clinical. Hassell-Collins added his name to the scoresheet with the Exiles’s third after 30 minutes.

Henry Arundell made a significant impact for London Irish as they managed to secure victory

The introduction of Henry Arundell in the second half was the last thing Worcester needed. Within 60 seconds of coming on, the prodigious youngster hacked the ball forwards on the half-volley before gathering to score with his first involvement. His England team-mate Will Joseph was next, taking the score to 31-0.

With a small pocket of supporters cheering them on, Worcester showed heart. Curtis Langdon and Jamie Shillcock scored to apply some pride to the scoresheet, yet Agustin Creevy and Arundell struck again.

Diamond did at least have one piece of good news before kick-off. ‘In the next 72 hours there may some news of a potential investor,’ he said. ‘But I am being used as conduit for all and sundry.

‘It’s a boost, but we don’t want a false dawn. I have been around rugby for a long time and there are not too many people who want to put their hand in their pocket and buy rugby businesses. If they have found somebody, great, and no doubt they will speak to me.’

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