3:50pm Friday 21st March 2014
PREMIERSHIP winner Chris Jones believes Worcester will never fulfil their potential until they can maintain a settled squad at Sixways.
The 33-year-old lock forward, who won 14 caps for England, has not been offered a new contract with Warriors and revealed this week he will be leaving the club at the end of this season.
Having spent a decade with Sale Sharks, where he was a key part of their 2006 Premiership-winning side, Jones insists he had never known such turn-over of players each year before arriving at Worcester in 2011.
He said: “That’s the weird thing with Worcester because, during the first year when I turned up, there was quite a big turn-over with players coming in and going out, but we still managed to do all right.
“The year after, even more players came and left and then this year, all the coaching staff left, as well as more players coming and going.
“One thing that Worcester need to do moving forward is to get settled and stick with a squad of players and just have a few in and out.
“To have that amount of turn-over every year is very hard and people don’t know how to play with each other, so for the first half of this season everyone was jumping around and the team was changing, which made it difficult.
“Hopefully, as the club moves forward, they will get a squad they are happy with and they can get some consistency.”
During the glory days of his career with Sale, Jones earned international recognition as part of a successful Sharks side that was built around a consistent core of players.
He added: “At Sale, the year we won the Premiership, the majority of the team had been there a minimum of four years.
“A few people had been there for six years and a handful of players, such as me, Dean Schofield, Mark Cueto and Charlie Hodgson, had been there a lot longer.
“Everyone knew everyone and you could play with those boys, knowing what they were going to do and they were fantastic players too.
“There is always a few in and a few out at all clubs, but I’ve never known such turnover as there is at Worcester.
“I think they should be doing a lot better given the set-up they’ve got.”
Jones continued: “If you look at (Matt) Kvesic, he is a fantastic player and one of our best players last year, but he wants to better himself and be playing for England, so he has to put himself in the car showroom.
“Andy Goode, as well, and players like that – they all strive to be playing at the top clubs and in Europe.
“If the club is struggling, it is hard to recruit players and to keep them.”
“There is always a few in and a few out at all clubs, but I’ve never known such turn-over as there is at Worcester. I think they should be doing a lot better given the set-up they’ve got.”
On the topic of former England man Goode, who returns to Sixways tonight (7.45pm) as a key player for his new side Wasps, Jones would have liked the veteran play-maker to have remained at Sixways, but ex-Warriors boss Richard Hill opted not to offer the outspoken fly-half a new deal.
Jones said: “On a good day, Goodey will win you a game and on his worst day, he’s certainly not going to lose you a game.
“He’s a great player and Wasps have done really well with him, he’s stepped up a gear from where he was with Worcester.
“Personally, I think it’s done him a lot of good to go to Wasps and he is playing a lot better than he was at Worcester, not to say he wasn’t playing well here.
“He’ll come here tonight and want to perform to show why he should have stayed and I know a lot of the fans wanted him to stay.”
© Copyright 2001-2014 Newsquest Media Group