Worcester Warriors call players out of retirement to fill bench amid financial crisis

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Worcester Warriors have been forced to summon two players out of retirement to allow the crisis club to fulfil Wednesday night’s Premiership Rugby Cup clash with Gloucester at Kingsholm.

Academy backs and transition coach Jonny Goodridge, formerly a full-back at Gloucester in a career that also included spells at Leeds and Bristol, played his last competitive match nine years ago.

Th 41-year-old is joined on a bench that includes only seven replacements by flanker Mat Gilbert, who retired at the end of last season with tier-three side Cinderford his final club, although he also had spells at Worcester and Bath.

Four years younger than Goodridge, Gilbert hung up his boots in April to run a pizza business and he is one of five guest players in the 22.

It comes as Worcester continue to fight for their future burdened by debts totalling over £25million, including at least £6m in unpaid tax.

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Full salary payments to staff and players for August have yet to be completed amid growing anger felt towards owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham, who have been accused of asset-stripping the club.

As recently as Sunday it was claimed that a deal with new buyers was imminent, prompting a derisive response from assistant coach and former England number eight Nick Easter.

“The number of false promises to staff may well be in double figures now in less than a month. Wonder who will get the blame this time. ‘Computer said no’ maybe,” Easter said on Twitter.

It was a reference to Goldring and Whittingham stating at the start of the month that the reason players and staff had not received their salaries for August was because of a computer error at the bank.

Sunday’s home debut against Exeter was only given the green light to go ahead 48 hours earlier and on Saturday they are scheduled to host Newcastle, although that fixture is in serious doubt.

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