Harlequins 36 Worcester Warriors 14

YET again it was a tale of two halves for Worcester Warriors and head coach Carl Hogg admits his side must learn when to hunker down and ‘weather the storm’.

The Warriors, victorious at the Stoop last season, had the better of the opening exchanges and did well to recover from Tim Visser’s intercept that led to a Danny Care try.

Worcester were level moments later through Jackson Willison – who dovetailed beautifully with star man Ben Te’o in the centres – and continued to control the game.

Crucially, however, Harlequins kept them at bay after Joe Marler was lost to the sin bin on the half hour, and as displays against Bath and other teams have shown, first-half dominance counts for little in the Premiership.

James Horwill and Mike Brown tries knocked the wind out of the Warriors’ sails and Te’o was to give Worcester brief hope before Joe Marchant and Visser finished the job.

“We were unfortunate,” said Hogg.

“Harlequins came out very well in the second half and scored two quick tries. In the first half we were very competitive and we put Quins under some pressure but the game got away from us in the second period.

“We’re disappointed to give away some soft tries but admittedly we picked up some interceptions too.

“We’ve got to be more robust when we’re put under pressure. In many games this season we’ve controlled parts of it but when put under pressure haven’t been able to weather the storm which is disappointing.”

Harlequins were presented a gift to open the scoring when Dean Hammond threw an errant pass to Visser and no one could catch the Scotland international before he sent Care over.

By the 10th minute Worcester were level, however, as a well-crafted lineout move ending up in the hands of Te’o, who shrugged off a tackle and gave Willison a simple finish.

Harlequins got on top of the visitors for a spell, but a combination of poor passing and rugged defence quelled the threat.

With Marler then sin binned for collapsing a maul, Worcester ended the second half in the ascendancy but could add no further points.

The best chance fell to Alafoti Fa’osiliva and, despite his break, the Samoan flanker missed a wide open Willison perched on his shoulder.

Quins raced out of the blocks on the turnaround as former Australia captain Horwill plunged over following an irrepressible rolling maul, and Nick Evans’ conversion made it a seven-point lead.

And it seemed as if the Warriors were sinking without trace when Brown scythed through from just inside the 22-metre line and finished.

But to their credit Worcester came roaring back as Ryan Lamb caused hesitance among the Harlequins ranks with his delayed pass to Willison – with Te’o then getting the try his general play deserved. Shillcock’s conversion reduced the deficit to seven.

Marler was involved in a number of heated incidents as the game wore on but Hogg said: “Whether Marler should have been given a second yellow card is not for me to decide. That’s for the referee.”

Phil Dowson’s intercept nearly gave Worcester parity on the hour but the 35-year-old was caught five metres short of the line.

Shortly after, an Evans penalty stretched Quins’ lead out to beyond a converted try before Marchant gobbled up a stray Lamb pass and slammed the door shut on Worcester, with Visser then grabbing a fully-merited final try.