LYDIA THOMPSON DELIGHTED AT MAINTAINING TOP-FLIGHT STATUS

Warriors Women wing Lydia Thompson says everyone at the club has played a crucial part in ensuring Tyrrells Premier 15s rugby returns to Sixways for the next three seasons.

The RFU announced on Monday that Warriors Women would be part of the new league structure after a successful re-tender process, capping off months of hard work both on and off the field at Sixways.

“From top to bottom, everyone at the club has been extremely supportive of what we’ve been striving to achieve,” said Thompson, 28.

“Our owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham are huge advocates of the women’s game, which has made such a difference – everyone at the club has been imperative throughout the process.”

Thompson also paid tribute to Jo Yapp, who was appointed as Warriors Women Director of Rugby last autumn. Following her arrival, Yapp guided Warriors to three home wins on the bounce, including a pulsating 15-12 victory over Bristol in the Sepsis Awareness Day fixture which attracted more than 2,000 spectators to Sixways.

“Jo is a fabulous leader and she manages to get everybody behind her,” added Thompson, who was part of a resurgent Warriors outfit that secured further wins against Firwood Waterloo and Richmond before the 2019/20 campaign was voided last month.

“We have some talented individuals supporting Jo and as a group, we really wanted to perform on the pitch and show what we could do.

“We do a lot behind the scenes, working ever so hard in our training sessions every Tuesday and Thursday. You just want to translate the hard work into performances on the pitch and I feel that we gained significant momentum under Jo.”

Capped 46 times by England, Thompson is excited at what lies ahead in the Tyrrells Premier 15s, a competition which welcomes two new teams in the shape of Sale Sharks Women and Exeter Chiefs Women, whilst losing Richmond and Waterloo who have given so much to the women’s game down the years.

“I feel that things really kicked on for us when we re-branded to Warriors Women and everyone has really bought into the culture and ethos that has been created at Sixways,” said Thompson.

“The men’s set-up has been hugely supportive of us too, and the double-headers have created that collective one club team feel – I’m really excited to see where we can go next.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Thompson and the rest of her teammates have been training at home as all roads lead to the start of the 2020/21 campaign.

She said: “This has been a hugely reflective period for all of us and a huge amount of gratitude goes to the keyworkers, who are keeping the country ticking over.

“It’s been an opportunity to reflect on what really matters in life and I definitely won’t be taking things for granted when we return to training, let alone when the time comes to when we pull on the Worcester shirt.

“I’m looking forward to the day when we all finally get back together. At the moment, it’s a case of making the most of the one slot that we get every day to exercise, whilst also being creative with training at home and learning a few different skills.”

The 10 clubs which will form the Tyrrells Premier 15s for the next three years are:-

Bristol Bears Women

DMP Durham Sharks

Exeter Chiefs Women

Gloucester-Hartpury Women

Harlequins Women

Loughborough Lightning

Sale Sharks Women

Saracens Women

Wasps FC Ladies

Worcester Warriors Women