Wasps joins Sixways after Worcester owners rebrand Stourbridge RFC

Wasps play at Sixways following Worcester Warriors merger with Stourbridge RFC - Getty Images/Nathan Stirk

Wasps play at Sixways following Worcester Warriors merger with Stourbridge RFC – Getty Images/Nathan Stirk

Wasps strike a deal to play at Sixways, the former Worcester Warriors ground, Telegraph Sport understands.

The arrangement would see professional rugby return to Sixways just months after the Warriors went into liquidation, with Wasps expected to abandon plans to move to Solihull.

Wasps were relegated from the Premiership following their own liquidation last year. They are now applying to join the Championship and any move to Sixways must meet the requirements of the Rugby Football Union.

In a dramatic day for the stricken former Premiership clubs, it was also announced that Worcester Warriors will cease to exist, with “Sixways Rugby” entering National League 2 West following the rebranding of semi-professional side Stourbridge.

The move means that Wasps and Sixways Rugby will enter into a land use agreement on the Sixways Stadium ground, which has an artificial pitch.

Atlas Worcester Warriors Rugby Club Limited confirmed on Thursday that they had withdrawn from the application process to compete in the championship next season as Worcester Warriors, with director Jim O’Toole stating they “cannot agree to the terms and conditions and commercial restrictions of the RFU”.

“We are going to invest in [Stourbridge’s] semi-professional first team and they will play at Sixways,” said O’Toole. “We will be investing significantly to get them through the competitions. The plan is to reach the championship in 2026.

“We hope to be able to call on former players to come in and help us through the divisions: some of the older guys who can still mix it up in that league, as well as the players who broke through from the academy.”

‘The Worcester Warriors brand has disappeared’

O’Toole accepted that not all former supporters of the club will be happy with the decision, while Stourbridge is also likely to face opposition to the sudden announcement, according to which the club will remain a membership organization but will receive long-term investment from Atlas under the rebrand and relocation.

“This decision will obviously upset and annoy a number of people,” O’Toole said. “The sad fact of life is that the Worcester Warriors brand and the Worcester Warriors company are gone.

“The name will sadly disappear.”

Stourbridge are bottom of National League 2 West and could therefore be relegated to Midlands 1, the fifth tier of English rugby, next season. Should relegation happen, the club would need to achieve three back-to-back promotions to fulfill O’Toole’s desire to reach the Championship in 2026.

Telegraph Sport has approached the RFU for comment.

Worcester players and staff, including Scotland international Duhan van der Merwe, had their contracts released due to the club’s financial problems after it was hit with an HMRC bill of around £6 million. Former owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham were accused of robbing the Warriors.

The Worcester men’s team had been in the Premiership since 2015 and won the Premiership Rugby Cup last season.

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