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Worcester Warriors 14 Leicester Tigers 19
REFEREE JP Doyle awarded Leicester Tigers their second penalty try of the night with seconds remaining to sentence Warriors to a heartbreaking Aviva Premiership defeat at a packed-out Sixways tonight.
Worcester led their illustrious visitors for all but 30 seconds of the contest, but a break from deep by Tigers in the dying seconds resulted in a five-metre scrum and Warriors received no benefit of the doubt from the official, who was straight under the posts with his arm aloft.
Warriors established a healthy lead through David Lemi’s early try and nine points from Andy Goode’s boot, but Leicester chipped away and Doyle eventually awarded them victory at the death.
As with the penalty try at the end of the first-half, Doyle handed out the ultimate sanction at the first time of asking and Worcester were left to console themselves with a hardearned bonus point.
The defeat ended Warriors’ proud home record that stretched back to the opening day of the season and would have been a bitter pill to swallow after an impressive 79-and-a-half minutes.
Disjointed Tigers, who made 12 changes to their side for the trip to Sixways, weren’t allowed to get going by dominant Warriors, who enjoyed the lion’s share of the first-half play, but kept themselves in the game with a try on the stroke of half-time from Scott Hamilton.
Andy Goode, who was later sinbinned for a knee to Hamilton’s back when the Kiwi scored, opened Worcester’s account with a penalty.
On 13 minutes Worcester conjured up a superb try. Matt Kvesic made the initial break, spinning out of a tackle, before Jon Clarke dummied through a gap and found the supporting Chris Pennell, who sent Lemi diving over in the corner.
Goode narrowly missed the conversion, but extended Warriors’ lead to 11-0 minutes later when Martin Castrogiovanni was penalised for not releasing the bullocking Aleki Lutui.
The Italian tighthead was then sinbinned for a no-arms tackle on Dean Schofield. Goode put the penalty to touch, Croft pulled down the resulting line-out and the Worcester flyhalf punished his former team with three more points.
Flood kicked a late penalty to the corner and Tigers finally woke up with the ball going wide to full-back Mat Tait, who sent Hamilton over.
Flood missed the conversion, Goode was binned and Leicester had a penalty for the yellow card offence, which Flood also missed. After the break, Warriors continued to battle valiantly and withstood the Tigers onslaught while Goode was in the bin.
Chris Pennell missed too kickable penalties while Goode was off the field and Tigers continued to kick for the corner instead of goal.
Tigers sent on Powerhouse front row replacements Marcos Ayerza and Dan Cole and the result was instant with the referee awarding his first penalty try.
Leiecster continued to press and turned Warriors over in the visitors 22, Tait broke and Thomas Waldrom chipped through for Steve Mafi to chase and pin Pennell over the line for a five-metre scrum.
The Tigers front row got an early shove on and Doyle did the rest.
Warriors: Pennell; Drauniniu, Grove, Clarke (Matavesi, 68), Lemi; Goode, Arr; Ceri Jones (Mullan, 56), Lutui (Shervington, 68), Murray (Andress, 68), Percival, Schofield (Chris Jones, 56), Betty, Kvesic, Taulava (Best, 59). Referee: JP Doyle. Attendance: 12,024.