Glasgow Warriors v Worcester Warriors called off as English club’s players go unpaid

Glasgow Warriors’ pre-season plans have been disrupted by the cancellation of their friendly against Worcester Warriors in Inverness due to the dire financial situation at the English club.

Glasgow Warriors were due to play Worcester Warriors  at the Caledonian Stadium in Inverness. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
Glasgow Warriors were due to play Worcester Warriors at the Caledonian Stadium in Inverness. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

The teams were scheduled to meet at the Caledonian Stadium on Friday evening in a match to mark the centenary of Highland Rugby Club.

The Glasgow squad are already in the Highlands, having travelled north today, and will now take on Ayrshire Bulls after the Super6 outfit stepped in at the last minute to provide opposition. That match will be played in Inverness.

Worcester’s future now looks increasingly parlous. Their decision to call off the game comes as their players face going without pay due to the club’s finances being frozen by HM Revenue & Customs while they chase unpaid tax.

In a statement released by director of rugby Steve Diamond, it was confirmed that Worcester would not travel north.

“It is unethical for professional players to play a full on game with the risk of injury and the real possibility of no employment to follow,” the statement read.

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The match in Inverness is new Glasgow coach Franco Smith’s first in charge. Their next scheduled game is the friendly against Ulster at Scotstoun next Friday, September 9. Their opening game in the United Rugby Championship is seven days later against Benetton in Italy.

Glasgow Warriors Managing Director, Al Kellock, said in a statement: “We are delighted that Ayrshire Bulls are able to help us fulfil Friday night’s fixture in Inverness.

“We have a huge amount of community activity planned in the Highlands over the next few days, and to be able to host a fixture at the Caledonian Stadium as the culmination of the week is fantastic.

“I’d like to thank Ayrshire Bulls, Southern Knights and Scottish Rugby for the flexibility they have shown across the board in helping us to make this fixture happen.

“We’re all excited to see our new signings in action, as well as watch Franco Smith take charge of the team for the first time, as part of a celebration of rugby in the Highlands and as part of Highland RFC’s centenary.”

Worcester’s co-owner Colin Goldring told employees on Tuesday that it was unlikely payroll for August would be met, adding to fears of an exodus from Sixways as squad members become free agents through breach of contract.

Glasgow and Edinburgh have already indicated an interest in the club’s Scotland internationals, Duhan van der Merwe, Rory Sutherland and Murray McCallum, should they become available.

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