THERE has been a lot of talk about whether the Premiership should be sealed off with an extra two teams added and no relegation for a period – and I can see the positives of doing that.
However, at the same time, promotion and relegation is what sport is all about and I think the Championship play-off final demonstrated what the prize of a place in the top flight means.
It was an absolutely amazing advert for rugby.
After Worcester came back to beat Bristol 29-28 in the first leg, a lot of people said ‘one point would not make any difference in the grand scheme of things’.
But how wrong were they in the end as that one point made all the difference.
You could see the elation around the place as the second half, especially, created such a roller-coaster of emotions.
To win it the way they did will be a massive buzz for the guys and I have no doubt they will still be up on cloud nine.
And it will be important that they take that energy into pre-season because having spoken to Nick Johnston last week he was under no illusions, and well aware that the hard work starts now.
You only have to look at the Premiership games over the last couple of weeks to see the level that the game is being played at. Sides are bigger, stronger, quicker, fitter and more efficient at everything they do.
So it will be a big step up from the Championship and having missed a year of Premiership rugby Worcester’s players will have a little bit of catching up to do.
But, fortunately, due to the Rugby World Cup, they will have more time to get themselves in the best shape possible ahead of the new season.
I also think we will see more additions to the squad. It is one of the hardest challenges for a director of rugby or head coach at a Championship team which is fighting for promotion – to get plans in place for the following season, as you don’t know where you will be playing your rugby until right at the end of the year.
Now Worcester have been promoted, I would imagine they will be looking to get new players nailed down as quickly as possible as they get set for the challenge ahead.
The pre-season will be tough, as will next season, but it will be hugely exciting to see Premiership rugby return to Sixways.