Worcester Warriors have received a massive boost on the eve of the new season with the news that club captain Pat Sanderson has agreed a new two-year deal, which will see him remain at Sixways until 2010.
Talismanic skipper Sanderson joined Warriors for the 2004/05 season and was instrumental in ensuring Warriors retained Premiership status. The 30-year-old started every top-flight game in his first year with the club and was later nominated for the Zurich Player of the Season and the PRA Players’ Player of the Year.
An intelligent, skilful and hard-working back row player, Sanderson has continued to lead from the front at Sixways both on and off the field and last season celebrated his 150th Guinness Premiership appearance.
Director of Rugby Mike Ruddock admitted he was delighted that Sanderson had chosen to commit to the club a year early, with his current deal set to run until the end of the new campaign.
“The plan when I arrived at Warriors was two-fold, to sign new players who would add huge value to the quality of the team and also to contract our captain Pat Sanderson who is crucial to the ongoing development of this team.
“Now that Pat has signed a contract to 2010 it means we can now turn our attention to building a successful team around him that will hopefully challenge towards the top of the Guinness Premiership.
“Pat typifies everything that we are looking to create at Warriors, as an individual he is extremely hard working, he is the fittest guy at the club, he leads from the front and his skills are of an international standard.
“He is a great role model for the rest of the team and also the Academy players at this club to follow and with his influence on the team secured for the next three years we hope that he will be able to lead us to great success.”
Sanderson’s outstanding contribution during his time at Sixways has been rewarded with England caps, captaining the side during the 2006 Australia tour and in charge of the triumphant England Churchill Cup squad in Canada in 2005.
Sanderson is also a high-calibre sevens player, having made his debut back in 1997 in Hong Kong. In 2003-04 he played in six of the IRB World Series rounds including the three wins in South Africa, Hong Kong and London. He also helped England win the prestigious Hong Kong event. In 2002 he was also a member of England’s Commonwealth Games squad in Manchester.
“I am delighted to pledge my future to Warriors, I am thoroughly enjoying my time at Sixways and look forward to even better seasons ahead with the ambition the club is showing,” said Sanderson.
“I hope the fans can see that we are all trying to build something special here at Warriors, and I want to be a part of that.
“The arrival of Mike Ruddock has sparked a real buzz about the future of the club and the signings we have made during the summer have shown the club is going forward and determined to compete in the top half of the Guinness Premiership. I also believe the style of rugby that Mike Ruddock and Clive Griffiths want to play will bring the very best out of me.
“Off the field the development of the club over the next two to three years, under the guidance and vision of Chairman Cecil Duckworth, is very exciting and I am confident we will soon have a stadium which will be one of the best rugby facilities in the country.
“I’d also like to pay tribute to the Warriors supporters who have made me and my family so welcome ever since I arrived at the club. It has been a privilege to lead the side for them over the past few seasons. Now it’s time to look forward to the new season which we are all very confident about.”