THIRTEEN years. That is how long it has been since Worcester Warriors last finished a season outside the bottom three in the Gallagher Premiership.

Year after year Worcester have shown glimpses of challenging for a top-six place only to end up battling for survival.

Securing European Champions Cup rugby has often felt like the impossible dream for Warriors, especially having twice suffered relegation.

But club legend Tony Windo has called for patience and reckons Warriors should keep faith in coaches and players rather than “ripping it up and starting again”.

Far too often Windo has seen players come and go and coaches lose their jobs in the club’s quest to achieve their lofty ambitions.

But having seen Warriors in action this term Windo felt Alan Solomons’ current side who ended the campaign in 10th place on 46 points – the club’s second highest tally – were heading in the right direction.

“The biggest thing for me is to see some continuity,” said the 50-year-old who is director of rugby at Bromsgrove School.

“It has always been a case of saying we have not quite achieved what we want to this year so let's rip it up and start again and have a big turnover in personal.


“But you have got to build relationships and that team spirit within the group and start trusting each other.

"People come and go – that’s the nature of professional sport but the more people you can retain the more cohesion and collectiveness you can get as a group the better that will be in the long run.”

Windo racked up 222 appearances for Worcester between 1999 and 2008 before spending three years on the coaching staff.

The former loosehead prop was a key cog in John Brain’s team that gained promotion to the top-flight for the first time in 2004 and achieved ninth and eighth placed finishes in the following two years.

“I started off in the old First Division, which is the Championship now, and after getting promoted we got into a very strong situation,” Windo said.

“We got to fourth at Christmas (in 2005) and fell away a little bit but that was when we amassed the most points (47) in a season.”

Malvern Gazette:

Tony Windo is director of rugby at Bromsgrove School. Picture: GEOFF BERKELEY

Windo said their success in the 2005-06 campaign was down to the team spirit they had created after coming up from the second tier.

“In the year things went particularly well for us we had a group of guys that stuck together,” Windo said.

“Rugby has evolved from when I started in the amateur game.

“But I still believe it is a team sport and that you need to want to play with the person stood next to you.

“I don’t think you can put a price on someone’s head and think because he is earning x amount of pounds I want to play with him.

“You have got to build friendships and camaraderie and then be prepared to go above and beyond the call when it is needed.”

There will be changes this summer at Warriors. Big-name players Bryce Heem, Josh Adams and Ben Te’o will depart while seven new faces will arrive at Sixways and one will return in Graham Kitchener.

However Windo said the most important part of Solomons’ recruitment drive was retaining 15 members of his current senior squad.

“It shows that the director of rugby and the coaching team there have got a lot of confidence in the group they have got,” Windo said.

“They obviously think they don’t need to go out and make wholesale changes. That will give the players involved in that squad a lot of confidence as they have got the support of the coaches above them. That will hold them in good stead for next year.”

Windo has also been impressed by the resilience Warriors have shown this term having come from behind to win several matches at the death, including their recent curtain-closing 31-29 victory over high-flying Saracens.

“You can’t put a price on the fact that they are not willing to giving up until the last minute,” Windo said.

“That shows there must be a great team spirit and a lot of self-belief.

“What this club needs to do is try to build year on year and move forward in the direction they are.

“It has been a little bit of a yo-yo club over the last 20 years and the fact they have shown that resilience and belief to keep going until the death is the sort of thing you can’t buy.

“You need to keep building.”