12:00pm Wednesday 31st July 2002
WORCESTER Rugby Club's hopes of a bonus point victory in Manchester have been boosted with the news that the Grove Park club will be without 12 players on Saturday.
The National One clash was originally pencilled in for January 5 but because of the freezing weather that weekend, the game had to be re-arranged.
The changed date, however, has left Manchester with a huge problem as most of their players are now on their pre-booked holidays.
The Six Nations weekend is historically a time when the players are given time off and with the holidays already paid for, the players will be unavailable for this weekend.
"We always tried to give the players some time off at this point in the season," said former director of rugby Alex Keay.
"They are semi-professional and cannot afford to cancel holidays which they've paid for. We are not talking about highly paid players at Manchester.
"This rearranged date wasn't one which was decided upon by both clubs, it was an imposed date by English Second Division Rugby. It's not a match which you would target a win anyway so it will give some of the academy players a good opportunity."
Keay, who last month resigned from his post, said he had become frustrated with the game as a whole.
"I felt as if I'd taken the club as far as I realistically could. Manchester is a lovely club with some great people but we were just treading water in National One without major investment.
"I had three years left on my contract but I wanted to go because I'd become very frustrated with the ambition in the club. I would love to work in the Premiership and already have some offers on the table."
The former Saracens skipper, famous for branding Worcester as rugby's biggest under-achievers, added that he stood by the statement.
"At the end of the day, what I said was a statement of fact and again, it's proved to be true again this year.
"I feel very sorry for Cecil Duckworth because Worcester should be successful with the amount of investment he has put into the club.
"There was never any malice in what I said about Worcester and I think it's a crying shame that they are not going to go up."
© Copyright 2001-2013 Newsquest Media Group