Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting WN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Worcester Warriors 29 London Wasps 23
WARRIORS put any lingering relegation fears to bed with a swashbuckling bonus-point win over high-flying Wasps under the lights at Sixways.
Chris Pennell, David Lemi, Blair Cowan and Jonny Arr crossed for the vital tries as Worcester claimed all five points with a 29-23 victory.
The 9,214 spectators inside Sixways were treated to an exciting, end-to-end match with both sides enjoying patches in the ascendancy but, in the end, Richard Hill’s men were good value for the win.
The hosts played some great rugby in the first-half, but nearly threw the game away in a terrible start to the second-half when they conceded a string of penalties and allowed Wasps to take the lead and regain some momentum.
However, Warriors were determined to not let this one slip away and came roaring back, reclaiming the upper hand and sealing five points as first Cowan and then Arr crossed the whitewash.
Andy Goode, who is believed to be joining Wasps for next season, landed an early penalty, but it was cancelled out by two from Wasps’ Bristol-bound number 10 Nicky Robinson. The Sixways side had threatened several times before impressive centre Jon Clarke delivered a scoring pass to Pennell, who raced in at the corner.
Worcester had a ruthless edge about them and Goode turned down several shots at goal to go for the corner and the fly-half was then the architect of a brilliant second try.
With Warriors pressuring the Wasps line, the play-maker spotted a superb run from Lemi and chipped deftly in behind for the Samoan to catch and dive over. Goode’s conversion made it 15-6 and Sixways was rocking.
However, following a shambolic start to the second period, you could hear a pin drop inside the stadium as the home fans began to fear the worst with Worcester imploding.
Neil Best dithered with a loose ball and Ashley Johnson hacked towards the line, where Worcester went off their feet, Wasps took the penalty quickly and hooker Thomas Rhys Thomas crashed over to make it 15-11.
A foot in touch denied Elliot Daly a try, before things got worse for Warriors with Josh Drauniniu sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on as he went for an interception with Wasps again piling on the pressure.
The penalty was kicked to touch and Johnson stormed over from the line-out to put Wasps ahead and ask serious questions of the home side.
Yet, instead of folding as has been the case in the past, Warriors found fresh resolve and carried the fight back to their opponents.
Cowan’s score restored belief and Arr’s all-important fourth — despite a late try from Jack Wallace — ensured it was going to be a happy night for the Sixways faithful and a pressure-relieving one for Hill and his players.
Warriors: Pennell; Drauniniu, Grove, Clarke, Lemi; Goode (Gray, 47), Arr (Hodgson, 79); Mullan, Shervington, Murray (Andress, 65), Percival, Schofield (Gillies, 69), Best, Kvesic, Cowan. Not used: Lutui, Ceri Jones, Betty, Matavesi.
Referee: Greg Garner.