WORCESTER Warriors battled out a pulsating 23-23 draw against Gloucester in an Aviva Premiership thriller on the new state-of-the-art surface at Sixways.

The hosts played the final 28 minutes with 14 men after Alafoti Fa’osiliva was red-carded and let slip a 20-9 lead in a remarkable contest.

Gloucester were quick out of the traps and, after Warriors had been penalised twice at the breakdown, Greig Laidlaw’s 22-metre kick fired the visitors 3-0 ahead.

Warriors struggled to relieve the pressure early on and a mix-up in their own 22 allowed Charlie Sharples to brush off Wynand Olivier to touch down.

However, the effort was ruled out after a lengthy stoppage and Warriors were awarded a penalty by referee Luke Pearce.

Ryan Lamb finally got Worcester a foothold in the contest and they broke through for the opening try in the 21st minute.

Warriors forced the visitors back at an attacking scrum and, after Jonny Arr created a gap, Ben Te’o cut inside to barge over. Lamb missed the conversion.

A second penalty from Laidlaw fired Gloucester 6-5 ahead but Worcester’s scrum dominance began to show and they grabbed a breath-taking second try.

Cooper Vuna finished off a slick handling move involving Jackson Willison and Dean Hammond before Lamb added the touchline conversion.

Warriors continued to have the upper hand at the scrum and Lamb’s penalty fired them into a deserved 15-6 lead at the interval.

The injured Te’o was replaced by Perry Humphreys at the interval and Gloucester skipper Laidlaw struck his third penalty two minutes into the half.

Lamb’s 35-metre penalty struck the outside of a post soon afterwards.

Warriors suffered a major setback in the 52nd minute when Fa’osiliva was red-carded after flooring Mariano Galarza with his forearm.

But the hosts ploughed on and a brilliant third try from Humphreys swept them 20-9 in front.

However, Gloucester cut through on 63 minutes and Matt Scott went under the posts with Laidlaw converting to put them within four points.

Replacement Tom Heathcote kicked a penalty for Warriors to make it 23-16 only for wing Henry Purdy to crash over in the corner for the visitors, who levelled through Laidlaw’s fine conversion on 70 minutes.

But Warriors held on with 14 men to draw a thrilling contest.

Warriors: Willison; Hammond, Olivier, Te’o, Vuna; Lamb, Arr; Rapava Ruskin, Annett, Johnston, O’Callaghan, Barry, Fa’osiliva, Mama, Dowson. Replacements: Bregvadze, Leleimalefaga, Daniels, Scotland-Williamson, Kirwan, Baldwin, Heathcote, Humphreys.