6:30pm Sunday 23rd December 2012
By Tom Guest
WORCESTER’S Aviva Premiership home win over London Welsh brought a new meaning to the term ‘winning ugly’.
Admittedly the conditions helped neither side, but this was an error-strewn contest littered with aimless kicking — in short, this was the Elephant Man of winning ugly.
The superb move that saw Josh Matavesi inspire Warriors from their own 22 to beneath the Welsh posts in a matter of seconds was, unfortunately, a seldom desert island of brilliance amid an ocean of ineptitude.
Throughout the match, both sides looked to put boot to ball at every opportunity rather than risking taking it into contact and the possibility of turning over possession.
However, as these turgid bouts of aerial ping pong became more and more prevalent, the crowd began to show their disdain for the Christmas fare that was being served up.
Afterwards, Warriors head coach Richard Hill admitted his side had not played as he had intended and such negative tactics had manifested themselves from the players’ own interpretation of what was best required to engineer victory.
Therefore, while everyone would like to walk away from Sixways after each match having been royally entertained by a swashbuckling Warriors, surely it is points on the board that matter more than being entertained?
Admittedly, it is not cheap to watch Worcester games, so paying customers have every right to expect some entertainment in return for their hard-earned cash.
But would these same fans still complain come the end of the season if Warriors had ground out enough ugly wins to scrape into the top-six and the Promised Land of the Heineken Cup? Probably yes, but that’s another story.
The bottom line is that when all’s said and done at the end of the 2012-13 Aviva Premiership season, the league table will simply reveal that Warriors beat London Welsh 13-6 at home just before Christmas.
Another hard-fought four points that — quite possibly — helped them on the way to their highest ever top-flight finish.
This game wasn’t just about Warriors, though. London Welsh have already caught four established top-flight sides with their pants down this season and, given Sale’s predicament, look good value for retaining their Premiership status against all the odds.
The Exiles keep their game-plan simple, but their driving line-out is a force to be reckoned with and their forwards will give any eight in the league a tough afternoon.
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