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Warriors beaten in battle of kicks
FESTIVE cheer was in short supply for Warriors fans who made the short trip to Kingsholm and it now looks like Worcester will need a miracle of Biblical proportions to avoid relegation from the Aviva Premiership.
It was a dire spectacle between two teams devoid of both confidence and ideas and was settled by four successful kicks from Billy Twelvetrees against two from Warriors fly-half Ignacio Mieres.
Lacking grunt up front and unsure of their strongest XV, Gloucester have under-achieved massively this term, but the derby victory has pushed them away from the dropzone, leaving Worcester praying either London Irish or Newcastle go into a meltdown.
Following this nightmare before Christmas, the table certainly makes grim reading for Warriors. Only Falcons have scored fewer points, no team has shipped more and Worcester’s paltry haul of two losing bonus points from 10 outings leaves them starring into the abyss of the Championship.
On top of that, this latest loss away from Sixways means Warriors will soon have the embarrassing record of having gone two whole years without an on-the-road success in the Premiership — the 6-0 win at Wasps on New Year’s Day 2012 was the last.
Kick-off was delayed by half-an-hour in farcical circumstances as the crossbar was damaged during a game as part of the pre-match entertainment.
There was little to get excited about in the opening 40 minutes and, although Paul Warwick came within inches of scoring what would have been a vital winning try, one of a host of unforced errors again stymied the Warriors’ hopes.
The game began with Warriors scrum-half Jeremy Su’a knocking-on the Gloucester kick-off and he soon conceded a penalty which allowed Gloucester to lead. Mieres levelled matters with a well-struck kick shortly afterwards, before Twelvetrees spurned a presentable chance after Warriors went off-side.
Six minutes before the break, Twelvetrees nudged his side back in front after the much-maligned Gloucester pack put in a big shunt to force Warriors backwards and win a penalty. Warriors lost their skipper Jonathan Thomas to a head injury at the interval and he was replaced by returning Argentinian back-rower Leo Senatore.
Alex Grove’s cute grubber kick put Rob Cook under pressure and the full-back fumbled the ball forward near his own line. From the scrum, Nick Wood was penalised and Mieres just managed to loop his kick between the posts to level the scores once again.
Gloucester inched in front again when Twelvetrees split the posts after a Worcester breakdown infringement. With Chris Brooker off the field for a concussion check, young hooker Nick Seymour came on and, with his first touch of the ball, overthrew a line-out in his own 22. Replacement scrum-half Dan Robson gathered the loose ball and burst for the line, only to be felled by a Richard de Carpentier high tackle. The back-rower was subsequently yellow-carded, Twelvetrees slotted the penalty and Warriors were again the architects of their own downfall.
Then came the key moment for Worcester as Warwick spotted a gap, went for the line, but referee JP Doyle adjudged the fly-half hadn’t scored and the TMO wasn’t required, so play went on and the ball was lost.
So too was the game and Warriors will need to regroup quickly before the visit of table-topping Saracens on Saturday.
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