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Warriors’ denied by Wasps’ defence
WORCESTER Warriors claimed a losing bonus point at Adams Park and came close to snatching victory as they staged a rousing late rally in a 10-6 defeat.
The visitors were ultimately denied a win by Wasps’ brilliant defensive commitment, but the home side faced a nerve-jangling final five minutes as Warriors set up camp in their 22’.
The frantic finale to the game belied the 75 minutes that had preceded it as it had been a poor contest.
Warriors boss Richard Hill had called for his team to make a fast start in a bid to catch Wasps cold, but the exact opposite unfolded as the home side put Worcester under pressure.
Loosehead prop Simon McIntyre crashed over after four minutes to give Wasps the points they deserved for a high-intensity opening, which saw Warriors at sixes and sevens.
Former Wales international fly-half Stephen Jones converted the early score and then added a penalty shortly afterwards as Wasps opened up a 10-0 advantage, despite Andy Goode hitting the post with a three-point attempt of his own.
The fare on offer from both teams was so poor, though, the game began to remind on-lookers of last season’s dire meeting that Worcester won 6-0.
Warriors had the edge at the scrum, but neither coach will be happy with how the line-outs functioned as plenty of ball was lost by each side on their own throw-in.
Aleki Lutui was again at odds with his jumpers as the hooker twice spurned good attacking positions in the Wasps’ 22.
After the break, Worcester improved moderately and soon cut the deficit to 10-3 when Goode knocked over a penalty.
The visitors began to win favour from referee Llyr Apgeraint-Roberts, who was playing penalty advantage when Goode opted to fire over a drop-goal to take his side within four points of Wasps.
Jones wasted a simple chance to extend Wasps’ lead when he pulled an effort across the face of the posts, while the Warriors pack continued to turn the screw.
Worcester then came so close to stealing the win as they laid siege to the Wasps 22.
With another penalty advantage in the bag, wing David Lemi scrambled forward before Goode spotted Jon Clarke on the opposite touch-line, but he was unable to gather and touch down.
More drama followed as the referee deemed no advantage had been gained and bought play back, allowing Goode to put the ball to touch with 17 seconds remaining.
Worcester battered away, but Wasps held firm.