Bath’s Ollie Lawrence credits Worcester players for helping him land top award

By Sports Desk May 11, 2023

Ollie Lawrence hopes to one day return to a rebuilt Worcester after dedicating his Gallagher Premiership player of the season award to his former Warriors team-mates.

Lawrence’s blockbusting form following his October move to Bath led to an England recall before helping his new club climb the table and qualify for the Heineken Champions Cup on the final day of the regular campaign.

The 23-year-old centre returned from an end-of-season social in Lisbon to be recognised at Premiership Rugby’s annual dinner in central London after a panel of experts judged him to be the league’s best player of 2022-23.

But having spent several days with Bath in Portugal, it was his former colleagues at Worcester who occupied his thoughts as he reflected on his award.

The Warriors went into administration in September due to unpaid debts, triggering their relegation from the Premiership, and their new owners have been blocked from relaunching the club in the Championship, ushering in an uncertain future.

Not all squad members have been able to secure contracts elsewhere, but Lawrence has gone on to make waves at the Recreation Ground.

“Without the Worcester players I wouldn’t have won the award and I wouldn’t be at Bath, so I want to thank them. This is on behalf of those boys as well,” Lawrence said.


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by OL (@ollielawrence_)

“A huge thanks goes to Bath for managing to get me on board as quickly as they did. And also for the Worcester boys, it’s a big thing for me to represent them. Hopefully one day I can play with them again and play again in front of those fans.


“In general, this year I’ve had to pinch myself sometimes to remember where I’ve come from.

“That desperation knowing that I could have not had a job – some of my best mates still don’t now – makes this pretty special. It’s been pretty surreal. I feel incredibly fortunate.

“But I’ll keep two feet on the ground and just enjoy myself and hopefully go again next season.”

The bonds between the players whose worlds came crashing down eight months ago remain strong and a group of them are heading to Barcelona for a stag do this weakened.

Once that is done, Lawrence’s aim is to ensure he is in the best possible shape for England’s World Cup training camp after Steve Borthwick issued strict instructions on their conditioning.

“Steve has said to the players to make sure you’re fit going into these camps instead of using the camps to get fit,” he said.

“My focus over the next five weeks is to get as fit as possible, train as much as I can and try to get a week abroad somewhere.”

Related items

  • Captain Ardie Savea proud of New Zealand’s 14-try drubbing of Italy Captain Ardie Savea proud of New Zealand’s 14-try drubbing of Italy

    New Zealand captain Ardie Savea expressed his pride after the All Blacks demolished Italy at the Rugby World Cup.

    An opening defeat by France that put their quarter-final hopes in jeopardy was forgotten as they ran in 14 tries in Lyon, eventually winning 96-17.

    Savea told ITV1: “Not just myself but all the boys that played tonight, to put that effort in, I’m very proud.

    “We’ve got talent across the board. We hadn’t really clicked but tonight we played some free rugby and that’s how I want my boys to play. We put a lot into this week and we got the rewards tonight.”

    Centre Jordie Barrett added: “It’s massively satisfying. We didn’t start the tournament the way we wanted to but we put a few things in place and a step in the right direction tonight.”

    He is not getting carried away about the All Blacks’ chances in the tournament as a whole, though, saying: “We’re one day at a time. I know it sounds cliche but we nailed our preparation for this game.

    “We’ve got Uruguay in front of us in six days’ time so we’re not going to treat our preparation any differently and anything further than that is a bonus.”

    Italy now face the prospect of having to beat France to have any chance of reaching the last eight, and fly-half Tommaso Allan felt his side contributed heavily to their downfall.

    “When you give so many penalties away against New Zealand and they keep playing in your half, they’re going to keep scoring,” he said. “We lost all our scrums, lost all our line-outs really, so it’s just tough to start from that.

    “We talked at half-time about trying to get some confidence for next week. We know it’s going to be as tough as this if not tougher. We’ve just got to stick together now. Start from scratch, don’t even think about this game, throw it in the bin.”

  • New Zealand close on World Cup quarter-final spot with 14-try mauling of Italy New Zealand close on World Cup quarter-final spot with 14-try mauling of Italy

    New Zealand lit the touchpaper on their Rugby World Cup campaign with a 14-try hammering of Italy.

    Defeat by France had left the All Blacks at risk of missing out on the quarter-finals but there appears no chance of that after a 96-17 romp in Lyon.

    Aaron Smith scored a hat-trick of tries in the first half while lock Sam Whitelock came off the bench in the second half to overtake Richie McCaw as the most-capped All Black in Test history with his 149th appearance.

    Italy would have dumped New Zealand out of the competition with a win but that never looked remotely on the cards from the moment in the sixth minute when Beauden Barrett launched a perfect cross-field kick for Will Jordan, who performed a leaping touchdown in the corner.

    Tommaso Allan got Italy on the board early with a penalty but the rest of the first half was a horror show as Smith crossed three times, Ardie Savea twice and Mark Telea once, with the line-out proving particularly profitable.

    Richie Mo’unga converted all seven first-half tries and nine in total, missing only his 10th attempt before being substituted.

    Trailing 49-3 at half-time, Italy came out strongly for the second half and scored their first try in the 48th minute, Ange Capuozzo showing his speed in the corner.

    But the All Blacks went straight down the other end and crossed again, Brodie Retallick applying the finish touch after Scott Barrett had charged down an attempted clearance.

    Cam Roigard was denied a try after he was deemed to have made a double movement but moments later Dalton Papali’i notched the All Blacks’ ninth score.

    They were approaching a century as Dane Coles twice, Damian McKenzie, Jordan and Anton Lienert-Brown all scythed through the Italian defence.

    The final word went to Italy through Montanna Ioane’s try but this was emphatically the All Blacks’ night.

  • Ben Earl raised eyebrows when he first arrived at Saracens, says Maro Itoje Ben Earl raised eyebrows when he first arrived at Saracens, says Maro Itoje

    Ben Earl may be taking his debut World Cup by storm but Maro Itoje insists his England team-mate raised eyebrows when he first arrived at Saracens.

    Earl has emerged as one of England’s top performers during their canter into the quarter-finals with a group game to spare and he is competing with Billy Vunipola to start at number eight against Samoa on Saturday week.

    The dynamic back row was repeatedly overlooked by Eddie Jones despite being crowned Premiership Player of the season in 2022 and even under Steve Borthwick his 2023 Six Nations was cut short, with instructions to work on aspects of his game.

    It was not until the World Cup warm-up fixture against Wales at Twickenham last month that he was finally picked in the starting XV – three-and-a-half years after making his Test debut off the bench.

    Now his reputation is soaring through his potent carrying, impact in attack and spirited on-field celebrations – a far cry from the 18-year-old Itoje first encountered in 2016.

    “When Ben came to Saracens I thought ‘who the hell is this guy?’ He probably didn’t give the best first impression!” Itoje said.

    “He was a young guy from Tonbridge and he had this floppy, public school hair. He was very sure of himself!

    “He’s always been a nice guy, but you just thought ‘who the hell’s this guy?’ But he’s been great and he’s worked at his game.

    “He hasn’t had a linear path. He’s had bumps, peaks and troughs along the way and he’s grown and grown and grown into the player that he is today.

    “Some of the stuff he’s doing for England now we’ve been seeing for a while at Saracens. And he’s only 25, so he’s only going to get better.

    “He’s got great physical attributes but he’s also very attentive, he wants to learn and he wants to improve.

    “Through his journey you’ve seen the toughness and the ruggedness to his spirit that he’s kept on persevering.

    “No doubt he would have been a bit gutted because he would have thought he was playing really well and was deserving of a place, but for whatever reason he wasn’t getting a look-in.

    “But he’s stayed consistent with his performances and he’s always had a great mindset and attitude.

    “If you’re consistent over a period of time, even when the proverbial tunnel looks dark, there is light there and he’s shown that. We’re only just beginning to see the fruits of his labour.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.