Club Watch: Worcester
Yahoo!-Eurosport completes its pre-season guide to all 12 Guinness Premiership clubs with a look at perennial strugglers Worcester.
Of all clubs in the Premiership, Worcester experienced the smallest turnover in playing staff over the summer, but judging from their struggles of last season this may not be a good thing.
The Warriors have finished 11th twice 10th once in the last three seasons, and despite their array of foreign stars could struggle again this campaign.
Willie Walker's (pictured) arrival from Gloucester towards the end of last season - now made permanent - gave the Warriors a much-needed reliable points scorer, but there is a strong chance they will again fail to live up to the sum of their parts.
The likes of Chris Latham, Aleki Lutui, Rico Gear and Sam Tuitupo mean the Warriors have no lack of talent – if somewhat past its best - but much will depend on them all staying fit and putting together a decent run of performances.
Head coach Mike Ruddock has yet to convince he can deliver the success at Sixways that Worcester's faithful following have been hoping for since his arrival in 2007, and the club's reliance on foreign players could again be their downfall this season.
The Warriors have won less than a third of their league games over the last three seasons and will need to vastly improve that win-loss ratio if they are to avoid another confidence-sapping relegation battle.
European Challenge Cup: Semi-finals
Anglo-Welsh Cup: 4th Group C
First six Premiership fixtures:
Sept 6 - Northampton (A)
Sept 11 - Leeds Carnegie (H)
Sept 20 - Wasps (A)
Sept 26 - Sale (H)
Oct 3 - Leicester (A)
Oct 24 - Harlequins (H)
2009/10 Premiership prediction: 12th