Premiership Rugby

Worcester Warriors Rebrand Canceled, Wasps Prepare To Play At Sixways

Worcester Warriors Rebrand Canceled, Wasps Prepare To Play At Sixways

The new ownership company of the Worcester Warriors has canceled plans for a complete club rebrand, but there’s an agreement that will include the Wasps.

Feb 20, 2023 by RugbyPass
Worcester Warriors Rebrand Canceled, Wasps Prepare To Play At Sixways

Atlas, the new ownership company of the Worcester Warriors, has canceled plans for a complete club rebrand, but there’s an agreement that will allow the Wasps, in principle, to play at Sixways from next season onwards.

Speaking at a supporters’ event Saturday, Atlas co-owners Jim O'Toole and James Sandford told spectators that the Worcester Warriors would not be renamed Sixways Rugby, as had been the original plan posited by the businessmen.

The U-turn likely was impacted by the volatile reactions from Warriors faithful, who had no intention of seeing their club turn to dust.

Their anger was aggravated further with news that O'Toole and Sandford were eyeing a merger with National League Two West side, Stourbridge.

Incidentally, Stourbridge sits at the bottom of its league and is sleepwalking toward a drop down to the regional leagues next season. However, the collaboration between the two depends upon a club members vote, which is yet to be held.

As a result, it remains unclear what level the Warriors, or any iteration of the club, will be playing at next season.

This comes after Atlas decided to remove its application for a Championship spot, due to extensive financial barriers.

“The reason we have made that decision, is after long discussions with the RFU, we are at an impasse over three or four key points in the insolvency agreement that would be the basis of our participation in the Championship,” O'Toole told Sky Sports at the time.

Though Atlas has announced that the Warriors Women still will play at Sixways in the Premier 15s, following the signing of a new five-year deal, non-league football side, the Worcester Raiders, also will continue to use the ground, likely switching their fixtures to Friday nights.

At the sold-out forum, Atlas said not only were they reacting to public pressure and dropping the ‘Sixways Rugby’ title, they were lining up an agreement with the Wasps, allowing the club to play at Sixways for a minimum of three years.

This stretch will begin next season when Wasps commence their campaign in the Championship, following a turbulent few months that saw them enter administration and lose their place in the Premiership.

The Warriors befell the same fate weeks earlier but have failed to recover as cohesively. 

Consequently, Atlas still faces plenty of questions and the tough task of reviving a wounded beast.

They have begun the long, arduous process of recovery but are fully aware of mistakes already made on that journey.

“We will hold our hands up and say ‘we got it wrong on the name,’ so we intend to keep the Worcester Warriors name,” O'Toole said publicly.

While the Warriors rebuild, the Wasps will set up shop at Sixways, training and playing matches at the ground for the foreseeable future. At the moment, the organization trains at Henley-in-Arden.

Included in the alleged deal between the two clubs is an agreement that, should the Warriors reach the Championship, Wasps would be need to find another home ground.

This all comes after a swarm of debts forced Wasps out of their former home at the Coventry Building Society Arena.

Amidst all of this, the Wasps have released a statement claiming that no official agreement has been signed for next season, and that they remain open to other offers.

“To clarify on rumors today, the Wasps have not signed a ground agreement with any stadium and remain in discussions with several potential venues,” read the statement. “We will not put pen to paper on any agreement without having first consulted with both the relevant governing bodies and, more importantly, the local communities that would be impacted by such a move.”

It was reported over a month ago that the Wasps were in talks with non-league football side, Solihull Moors, over a potential ground share of their 5,500-capacity stadium on the outskirts of Birmingham. However, nothing concrete has come from it.

Evidently, the overall situation remains foggy, yet O’Toole was adamant that a deal would be forthcoming.

And, when asked if fans should support the Wasps as an alternative, O’Toole replied: “I'd like you to watch the Wasps and support the Worcester Warriors.”

He then admitted that the Wasps logo would appear at Sixways, alongside the Warriors badge, further cementing the bond between these two fallen giants of the English game.

Written by Stefan Frost