WORCESTER Warriors' head coach Jonathan Thomas has explained the reasoning behind the club's decision not to move this weekend's Round 19 Gallagher Premiership fixture with Wasps back to allow for supporters.

Wasps had asked Worcester if the original fixture, Saturday May 15, 3pm kick-off, could be moved to or after Monday May 17, in order for fans to be in attendance at the Coventry Building Society Arena.

As of next Monday, a restricted number of spectators will be permitted to return to stadiums, due to Covid restrictions being lifted in regards to social gatherings. A number of clubs agreed for their fixtures to be changed in order to allow fans in, including Newcastle vs Northampton Saints, Bristol Bears vs Gloucester and London Irish vs Exeter Chiefs.

A select number of Wasps' season ticket holders could have backed their side against Warriors but, as such, the game will be played behind closed doors and the Warriors head coach explained why the decision was made.

"Obviously as a club we would do anything to accommodate fans being in the stadium for that game," said Thomas.

"But the thing is, we had already given the players a down week for that week (May 17th - May 23).

"The RPA (Rugby Players' Association) state that you have to give players certain time off, you have to. That's completely out of our control. There is certain allocated time that they must have and what had happened, four or five weeks before Wasps had asked us to change the fixture, we had looked at that week as a European one so we said that's an opportunity to give the players that time off.

"Obviously player welfare is so important, especially in a season where we've played a season and a half in one year - it's so important.

"The players had already made plans accordingly so it was impossible for us to change, unfortunately."

Wasps released a statement last month following the decision not to have the game rearranged, the tweet read: "Unfortunately, we did approach Worcester Warriors to move the date of our Gallagher Premiership Round 19 fixture, however our request was declined. As a result, the game will be played on Saturday 15 May as scheduled without fans in attendance."

Wasps' supporters were equally unhappy and took to social media to share their disapproval of the decision from Worcester.

Thomas appreciated the frustrations for the Wasps fans but reiterated the fact the decision was taken out of their hands.

"I recognise the frustration on the Wasps side," he added.

"I think we'd be the same if it was the other way around and if you don't know the facts, you're going be annoyed, because we all want people back in to watch games and all the fans want to return.

"But when you know the facts, it's completely out of our hands. We had made the commitment to the players and the RPA that they have that down week.

"There was nothing more that we could have done."

Warriors play Wasps this weekend and then all clubs have a weekend without a fixture, which is why many people were questioning why Worcester were not up for moving the match.

But Thomas said, with the final three games (Tigers, Newcastle and Gloucester) all being back-to-back, next week is the only one that players and staff around the club could have off.

"I have seen the frustration online and I recognise that but there is nothing more we could have done," he added.

"You can move weeks but we have given the players the notice and informed them it would be next week. These are guys that have families, they have made plans, commitments. So it was impossible to change.

"We are then into a three week block after so we'd made all of our planning around the players and the people around the club, so there would be no other opportunity to have that time off."