Cara stars as Warriors come back from the Brincat in most tumultuous season to date
Cara Brincat played a starring role as Worcester Warriors overcame near-ruinous financial problems to achieve their highest ever Premiership finish.
The back row forward, who first started playing in a mixed gender team at Hungerford aged 13, was instrumental as Warriors battled off-field woes to defy the odds and not only survived to the end of the season but finished a record sixth.
Worcester hit the headlines for the wrong reasons ahead of the 2022/23 season as the club were overwhelmed by debts.
Both the men’s and women’s teams were suspended from their respective Premiership competitions, with the men’s side entering administration in September before being issued with a winding-up order by the High Court in October and folding completely in February.
Brincat, who is head of girls’ P.E. at Trinity School, and the women’s team were likewise suspended and went into administration but found funding and insurance to compete until Christmas and later secured a much more permanent deal that leaves them on surer footing.
Even despite facing an entirely uncertain future, Brincat and the Warriors side showed remarkable resilience, winning their first game back against Harlequins and going on to secure a sixth placed finish that is astounding given the circumstances.
And Brincat, who was voted forward of the year at the club’s end of season awards, feels the squad’s togetherness in the face of adversity helped them achieve the almost impossible in the most tumultuous campaign of her career.
“It has been a massive rollercoaster,” she said.
“At the start of the season we didn’t even know if we were going to exist as a club.
“Even through everything, we stuck together as a squad.
“The coaches were fantastic, we said ‘we’re going to get through this, and we’re going to do it together’.
“Not one single player left the club at any stage of the process this season.
“As a team, we’re a massive family and we stick together.
“We finished mid-table and we never would have thought that was possible at the start of the season.
“We’re so proud of what we’ve achieved.”
Brincat, who stars at Sixways alongside fellow Hungerford alumni Carys Cox, admits the threat of liquidation hung over Warriors for much of the season but says the backs-to-the-wall mentality helped spur the squad against all expectations.
She said: “Jo Yapp (director of rugby) has created an amazing culture within the team.
“We didn’t know what was happening, we didn’t know if we had contracts.
“Coaches had the opportunity to leave and they didn’t, we were so united.
“On the pitch, we had absolutely nothing to lose, we wanted to go out there and prove that we are Worcester Warriors and we’re here to stay.
“We managed our highest ever finish and hopefully next season we’ll push for top four.”
Cube International kept Worcester going until Christmas when, unable to find a buyer, the men’s team went under.
However Cube, a British sports management and promotion company, committed to finance the women’s team for the next five years, meaning Warriors' future seems more certain.
“It’s a huge relief,” Brincat, who has been with Worcester for six seasons, said.
“We’re already looking forward to next season because we think we can really progress now.
“Cube have been amazing, we don’t have the support of the men’s team now and we don’t need that.
“We’re going to drive as a women’s team and carve out our own future, that’s what’s exciting.”