London Irish chief Kidney sympathetic but wary of Worcester

London Irish director of rugby Declan Kidney says he feels sympathy for the players and staff of cash-strapped Worcester but insists his side cannot show any charity when the teams meet in Saturday’s Premiership season opener.

Worcester, who are over £20m in debt have been cleared to start the season with the club’s owners insisting they are in discussions with three sets of perspective buyers.

However, many players and staff are still waiting to be paid their wages for August with local MPs in the Worcester area calling for the club to be put into administration.

Should that happen, under Premiership Rugby rules it would lead to instant relegation and potentially insolvency.

The Warriors beat Irish in a dramatic Premiership Rugby final last May at Brentford by virtue of scoring more tries in a 25-all draw and Kidney said his players have a score to settle from the gut-wrenching loss that saw Paddy Jackson miss three extra-time penalties.

“Our last game at Brentford was against Worcester and they walked away with the cup,” Kidney said.

“We have nothing but respect for Worcester and their coach Steve Diamond and we are know they thrive on adversity.

“The human side of it is unbelievably stressful for them I would imagine, the financial people are in charge of that and the rugby side of things at a club is often caught in the middle.

“We played them three times last season it was a win, a loss and a draw and they took the cup in extra time. That is the Worcester we are getting ready for tomorrow.”

Worcester have been unable to play any pre-season friendlies, such is precarious nature of the situation at the club but Kidney is expecting to face a side with a siege mentality at the GTech Stadium.

“They have too many good players, too much to play for and a lot of things that actually when it comes down to a pure rugby match you can use them in your favour.

“They have British and Irish Lions players in their ranks, so we know we will face a huge test because when we go onto the pitch all the excuses go out of the door.”