News in Brief
Duckworth vows to stick by Warriors
Worcester owner Cecil Duckworth will not be deserting the Warriors should they be relegated from the Premiership this weekend
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- Millionaire Worcester chairman Cecil Duckworth has reaffirmed his commitment to the club ahead of Sunday's crunch Guinness Premiership clash against Leeds Carnegie. Worcester could be relegated from English rugby's top flight if they lose at Headingley.
"Obviously, we are all disappointed with where we find ourselves in the league," said Duckworth, who has spearheaded a radical transformation at Sixways over the past 15 years. "But whatever happens to the club, I am totally committed to carrying the torch forward and onwards, making sure we learn from the experience of this season.
"The results have not gone as we would have liked over the last six seasons - we have not broken through to become a top-four side as we all wish. However, we are still one of the most successful clubs in the midlands in what we have achieved over the last decade, and have a fantastic support which has grown amazingly over the last 15 years.
"Off the field, the club has one of the best locations for a stadium in the country and some of the very best facilities. We will continue to develop those in the years ahead and we have exciting plans going ahead. We are where we are and everyone is disappointed that we find ourselves in this situation - now, we have to deliver."
- Newcastle director of rugby Steve Bates hailed his side's attitude and aptitude after securing Guinness Premiership survival with an enthralling 32-30 victory against relegation rivals Sale Sharks at Edgeley Park. Jimmy Gopperth's masterful display with the boot proved the catalyst for the Tynesiders to secure their fourth away win of the season and another campaign in the top flight.
"We always knew [we were going to stay up] and it wasn't really ever a problem for us," he said with a wry smile. "It has been a big day and obviously there was a lot of pressure on both teams and to come out, and to win it by two is a fantastic result for us. "I think both teams ought to, really, be in the Premiership; that sort of quality of rugby is what the Premiership is all about. I think we've proved all season that we're very competitive, so I think we'll take that, move forward and try to progress again."
Sale counterpart Kingsley Jones admitted the last-gasp defeat had left some of the Sale players in tears. "It was a poor first half from us, everything we didn't want to do we did," he said. "We allowed Jimmy Gopperth into areas and gave away penalties in those areas. I thought he was absolutely deadly and every opportunity he had, he took, whether it was with the boot, whether it was an opening in our defence. And again we've been punished. But the second half performance was better, but we shouldn't have been in that position and we gave them soft points in the first half."
- Former Australia coach Eddie Jones has backed Reds boss Ewen McKenzie to take charge of the Wallabies in the future. McKenzie, who served as an assistant to Jones when he coached the national side, linked up with the Queensland-based Reds last year after parting company with Stade Francais in France. He has since seen his charges storm into the Super 14 play-off picture on the back of a series of impressive displays and Jones believes domestic success will have caught the eye of the Australian Rugby Union.
"Ewen has this Reds team playing close to their potential and with a real sense of adventure, which is what Australian rugby needs," said Jones, who is currently coaching Suntory in Japan. "Making the semi-finals this year is still a tough ask but they are competing with pride and playing for each other. Again, Ewen has created this environment. Ewen must not worry about his next job. If he continues to coach well at the Reds, the Wallabies job will be his."
- The Scarlets have announced that winger Andy Fenby and prop Deacon Manu have both signed new two-year deals with the Llanelli-based region.