Alan Solomons: We are building a 'Worcester identity' at the club

Ted Hill has been handed the captaincy by Worcester Director of Rugby Alan Solomons

The news that 21-year-old Ted Hill would be captaining Worcester was certainly made a few headlines during the lockdown period.

Having already secured an England cap, the talented forward is certainly someone for fans in the West Midlands to get behind for years to come.

His vice-captain will be fellow academy graduate Will Butler, 22. Butler has previously captained the Worcester A-League side and both were part of the leadership group for the 2019/20 season prior to being given the responsibilities.

“I have been really, really impressed with how Ted has taken to his responsibilities,” Solomons said on Wednesday afternoon. “He is a highly intelligent young man, he is articulate, he has massive respect within the squad, he is a terrific player.

“He certainly leads from the front. I have been impressed. He is a sensible fellow and he is articulate. I have been really impressed with Ted, the way that he has taken to the job.”

Born and raised in Worcester, Hill encapsulates everything that you want in a club captain. He is relatable to fans, an already established player and clearly someone who others look to. Like his skipper, Butler is a local boy, having grown up in nearby Herefordshire, showing a changing in the tides of Warriors’ mindset.

Having re-established themselves as a Premiership side after promotion in 2015, Worcester did bring in a raft of experienced players to help maintain their stay in the top-flight. Now, as things stand, Warriors have nine internationals on their roster, several of whom haven't pulled on their country’s jersey for some time.

Instead, there is a real blend of homegrown talent and dependable young talent at Worcester, with the likes of Chris Pennell and Hill at the forefront of this. More recently, Solomons has brought former academy players back to Sixways.

Matt Kvesic rejoins after seven years away with Gloucester and Exeter, but he was educated in the city and even spent time with Stourbridge in National One. Born in Bromley, former Leicester Tigers man Graham Kitchener came back to Sixways at the start of last season, joining up with brother Andrew.

Solomons describes this as having ‘a very strong Worcester identity’ in his side: “We have got, coming through the ranks, Kai Owen.“He comes up from the academy and we have got a young academy player, Lewis Holsey, who is a terrific prospect. Kai has played for England U20s, so part of what we are doing is building our club through our academy.

“Our academy lads are capable of making that step up and that is in mind with Kai and Lewis coming up.”

Worcester’s first game back after the lay off is at home to Gloucester. With a packed fixture schedule, many of the club’s young talent will be looking to make the leap to the first team and it seems like Solomons will be watching closely.