England international Matt Kvesic admits that Worcester’s alarming financial plight has proved a “stressful” and “upsetting” experience.
But Kvesic, who is in his second spell with the Warriors, has mirrored a collective desire to put the Gallagher Premiership club back on track.
Worcester kick off their Premiership campaign against London Irish on Saturday, amid HM Revenue & Customs freezing the club’s finances in its pursuit of unpaid tax, and players and staff seeing wages delayed.
Worcester co-owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham insist they remain in talks with possible buyers for the business, although four Worcestershire MPs have called for Warriors to be placed in administration.
“Let’s not gloss over the fact that it has been pretty stressful. It has been a tough couple of months, really,” Kvesic said.
“But the way the boys have responded has been pretty exceptional. ‘Dimes’ (Worcester rugby director Steve Diamond) laid the law down pretty early on. He said we are going to ride this out and stay tight.
“There is no point sulking or going off in little groups and moaning about bits. The best way to behave is to stay tight and show that we are together as a group.”
Kvesic, who has won four England caps, rejoined Worcester two years ago following an initial playing stint at Sixways from 2009 to 2013.
“It has been pretty stressful. I am not going to pretend otherwise,” the 30-year-old added.
“But there is nothing I can do that will directly impact what is going on above me. I just have to do my job.
“At home, it is not ideal. I have got a little lad and there is worry about the future, but you can’t look too much into the future – you have to stay in the present.
“Not once did I think about jacking it in. We didn’t get paid on time last month or the month before that, so that wasn’t too big an issue for me.
“I have experienced a couple of different clubs (Gloucester and Exeter) which I am really grateful for, but for me this is my home. To see where we are now is upsetting.
“We don’t want people to feel sorry for us. We have had a lot of unbelievable support – fans, sponsors, the community, other clubs.
“But we don’t want to turn up for the first game of the Premiership season and just make the numbers up. We are not here to make the numbers up.
Saturday's game will proceed as planned.
Here's your first team news of the season 💪#COYW
— Worcester Warriors (@WorcsWarriors) September 9, 2022
“Preparation has been a bit more tricky, but we all know how to play rugby, so it is about going out and putting our best foot forward against Irish and showing we mean business.
“I am sure we will be absolutely blowing. Come 20 minutes, I will be sweating, with my hands on my knees, but London Irish will be the same. Our preparation hasn’t been perfect, but that is no excuse.”
Kvesic will line up at number eight against Irish, with flanker Cameron Neild, who only joined Warriors from Sale this summer, captaining the team instead of an injured Ted Hill.
Neild said: “The lads playing on Saturday have played thousands of games.
“When you cross the white line, you aren’t thinking about what is coming into your bank at the end of the month, you are thinking about the guy that is coming head-first into you and how you can put him on his backside.
“I have worked with Steve (Diamond) for a long time, and he is brilliant at getting his message across to the players, the staff, the owners and the wider audience.
“He is a really good man to follow. In ‘Dimes’ we trust.”