Van Velze calls for Griffiths to steady ship at Warriors
WORCESTER No.8 GJ Van Velze is demanding stability at the club – and reckons former consultant Edward Griffiths is just the man to provide it.
Griffiths, the architect of Saracens’ remarkable rise, left his backroom role at Sixways last month but is believed to be leading a consortium aiming to take charge of the club.
Worcester have been through four rugby directors in four years – Richard Hill, Dean Ryan, Carl Hogg and Gary Gold – and with Gold leaving next summer, another period of upheaval is likely as a third relegaend tion to the Championship looms.
Van Velze, recently returned from a year out with concussion, told The
Rugby Paper: “Edward Griffiths is a different individual who’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but he understands rugby and what makes players tick.
“If Worcester are serious about someone in that position, I think it will have to be a key individual, like Edward, who thinks outside the box and who is different to what you’ll normally find in a professional rugby club.”
Van Velze added: “What is key from Worcester’s point of view is stability. I signed for Dean Ryan in 2014 and there was a fiveyear plan which was the goal in terms of consistency of a playing group and management. That didn’t happen, so whether you’re a Worcester supporter, academy kid or a senior player, this place is gagging for stability at the top level and a long-term plan that actually sticks.
“I’ve been optimistic about Worcester from day one and always will be because I can see what this place can do – the support base and facilities.
“If you look at Exeter and Saracens you can see what’s achievable with consistency, but it’s people in higher places that make those decisions and that’s what they must do.”
Van Velze, 29, is six games into a remarkable playing comeback after spending almost all of last season out with concussion symptoms following an opening day collision with Saracens back rower Michael Rhodes.
He said: “It’s definitely a shock to the system and it takes me a day or two more to feel normal again, but I’d rather have that problem than not play at all.
“I’m at a stage where if I’m not right I won’t play rugby. I love this game, but if I find I can’t get through playing 80 minutes weekin, week-out or I start suffering symptoms, it’s no use me trying to play again.
“Up until now I’ve been fine, but I will play every game as if it’s my last and I’m enjoying being back.”
Van Velze used his long lay-off to develop farming and business interests, explaining: “I started sheep farming as a hobby with a neighbour and we sell produce locally, while the business venture is with shoes – Van Velze & Smith.
“For every leather boot we sell, I’ll give away a pair of rugby boots through coaching clinics to aspiring kids in South Africa.”
Warrior: GJ Van Velze