23rd Mar, 2019

Warriors chief praises young stars on first anniversary in role

Rob George 23rd Dec, 2018

WARRIORS chief Alan Solomons revealed he hopes to see more academy youngsters following in the footsteps of the likes of Ted Hill to pull on a England jersey.

The respected South African marks 12 months as director of rugby today (Sunday) and praised the new Warriors owners for their ‘shared’ vision for the Premiership side.

As he reflected on his first year in charge, he says the club has progressed on and off the pitch.

The emergence of back-row forward Hill, who made his England debut aged 19 as a late replacement in the Autumn International against Japan on November 17, is a case in point and Solomons wants to see other homegrown players excel.

Solomons arrived at Sixways in October 2017 but took up the reins as Warriors chief on December 23 last year after Gary Gold left to take up a job with the United States rugby union team.

The 68-year-old revealed much of his work until the summer was focused on the first team and to ensure Warriors didn’t slip out of the Premiership in the infancy of his reign.

“When I came in and when Gary was here, we had our backs a little to the wall which made things really difficult,” he said.

“It’s only at the end of last season I could focus on other things because I was so taken up with the competition and making sure we remained in the Premiership.”

The former coach at Edinburgh Rugby, Southern Kings and Eastern Province in South Africa highlighted the revamp off the field which took place during the summer but said he believed Warriors were in a ‘good’ state both on and off the field.

“We restructured our performance departments which are really operating well now with Johan Pretorius, who I worked with at Kings and at Edinburgh coming in as a very good sports scientist and practical conditioner,” he said.

“Ryan Keogh has settled in as head of medical; we have staffed the department well with good people.

“All of the people in the academy are operating well and I think we are in a good place as a club. The ownership has bedded in. They are a pleasure to work with and a really nice people who have a shared vision for the club which is a real positive.”

Looking ahead to the future, Solomons said: “I’m very positive in the direction we are going. The vision I have is we want to build a sustainable Premiership club through excellent coaching but also through a vibrant, flourishing academy and that’s what is giving me a lot of joy.

“What I am seeing is the likes of Ted Hill, Ollie Lawrence and Will Butler coming through and that really is powerful because that’s the way we will flourish as a club.

“We are in a hell of a competition in the Premiership but broadly we have made such progress. The academy boys are doing well for us and I want to see them playing for England.”

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