English Premiership Rugby

Where Do Worcester Rank Amongst the Worst Teams in Premiership History

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistMay 1, 2014

Where Do Worcester Rank Amongst the Worst Teams in Premiership History

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    Stu Forster/Getty Images

    Even with Dean Ryan's expertise at their helm, Worcester Warriors have been the standout disappointment of this Aviva Premiership season.

    With only one win from 20 matches, it seems an inevitable conclusion that the Sixways outfit will be relegated to the second tier of English rugby come the end of the 2013-14 campaign, but where does the club rank in such low standards?

    Clubs have come to the promised land in years gone by, under different names and monikers, only to fall short of what's needed in truly abysmal fashion—some more abysmal than others.

    Here, we'll take a look a look at a select few of those teams in the Premiership era (1998 onwards), determining which can be termed as the worst ever to have paraded among the giants.

    Bear in mind, some clubs may have gone on to see better days under new ownership or in different divisions, but here we look solely at their Premiership careers, some institutions coming into the mix for a very specific part of their histories.

    It's also worth noting that clubs which have been affected by financial administration have been omitted in some cases.

5. Worcester Warriors

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    Jo Caird/Getty Images

    Active Premiership Seasons: 2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2012-13, 2013-14

    Despite the fact that this season has done its best to ruin the reputation of their brand, Worcester Warriors nevertheless have a deeper relationship with the Premiership than just this year and have spent a total of eight seasons in the top tier.

    Like Leeds, the club have done their best to establish themselves as a consistent Premiership force, most notably during the six-year stretch between 2004 and 2005. After scraping by at first, the club eventually started making moves for bigger names and expanding their horizons, even signing New Zealand's Rico Gear in 2007 and Australia's Chris Latham in 2008.

    It was during this time that they prospered and experienced some joy in the European Challenge Cup but struggled to maintain presence on fronts both foreign and domestic, eventually being relegated to the Championship in 2010 by a margin of just four points.

    That season, the Warriors drew four league games, more than any other team in the competition, but winless streaks and poor patches took their toll on the side, who wouldn't come back for another two seasons.

    Which brings us to today. After finishing just above the relegated London Welsh last season, Worcester Warriors have amassed a paltry one win from 20, letting a similarly disappointing Newcastle Falcons side off the hook in some respects.

4. Leeds Carnegie

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    Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

    Active Premiership Seasons: 2002-03, 2003-04, 2004-05, 2005-06, 2007-08, 2010-11

    Some may find it unfair to include Leeds on this list, being that the club did at one point look capable of cracking the Premiership elite, but an all-time record finish of fifth in 2002-03 was as good as it got for the club.

    Back then, they were the Leeds Tykes, and the shuddering highs of those days ultimately gave way to darker ones, following on from a few years of good success among the big guns, which included a momentous Powergen Cup final triumph over Bath in 2005. 

    Having spent four consecutive seasons in the Premiership, beginning in 2002, the 2005-06 campaign saw the Tykes crumble, and it was ironically a year to the day after they had won the Powergen Cup that their fate was sealed.

    The 2005-06 term ended with the team winning just five games and conceding 573 points. This defensive crisis was the real issue for the club, as their attack at times looked on a par with that of their peers.

    Since then, Leeds have spent two seasons in the Premiership; the 2007-08 season was their first under the name Carnegie, and current England head coach Stuart Lancaster helped push the club back into Premiership status.

    However, it was a short-lived romance as they took just two wins from their 22 games and conceded more than 700 points. That tally was only slightly bettered upon their return to the division two years later, the 2010-11 season ending with four wins.

3. Bedford Blues

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    Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

    Active Premiership Seasons: 1999-2000

    Bedford Blues have only the one Premiership season to speak of, but the Championship hopefuls are attempting to make their run at the play-offs so that they might re-join the ranks.

    Financial issues at the club around the turn of the century meant that their future wasn't always assured, but investment came when it was most needed in 1999, allowing the Blues to live on.

    But they didn't prosper upon being brought back into the top-flight fold that year, winning a total of one match in 1,760 minutes of rugby but scoring a fairly admirable 51 tries in the process.

    The club ended their short Premiership stint with just three points to their name and 15 points adrift of their closest opponents Newcastle. The club will cherish those memories, but what dismal ones they are at the same time.

2. Rotherham Titans

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    John Gichigi/Getty Images

    Active Premiership Seasons: 2000-01, 2003-04

    In two seasons of Premiership rugby, Rotherham Titans have, in their history, managed to take two wins from the giants of the top flight.

    The more embarrassing aspect of that fact is that both of those victories came during the 2000-01 season, while the 2003-04 campaign was a winless rut that could well qualify as the worst any team has ever endured during the Premiership era.

    From those two seasons, the club have finished a collective 60 points away from safety (34 in 2004, 26 in 2001), showing exactly how far off the standards they've been each time they've made it to the big time.

    The Titans are alive and well, however, attempting to break from their Championship shackles back into the light of the first tier, although here's hoping another campaign up top won't result in quite so many grimacing results.

1. West Hartlepool

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    David Rogers/Getty Images

    Active Premiership Seasons: 1998-99

    West Hartlepool will almost see it as some sort of achievement that they managed to concede more than 1,000 points during the 1998-99 season (1,007 in total), making for an overall points difference of minus-506.

    That campaign saw the County Durham club amass three wins in 26 outings, back when the division comprised of 14 teams as opposed to the 12 of today.

    Now playing in North 1 East, it's been an almighty fall from grace for West Hartlepool over the last decade and a bit, with their relegation from the Premiership beginning a landslide-esque run from national rugby into the regional sport.

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