Brive 17 Worcester Warriors 14

WORCESTER Warriors crashed out of the European Challenge Cup in heart-breaking fashion as a last kick of the game from Gaetan Germain saw Brive secure a narrow 17-14 victory at the Stade Amedee-Domenech.

Warriors took a 7-0 lead into the break after Marco Mama’s powerful run saw him to the try line with Connor Braid converting.

Brive hit back immediately in the second period as Fabien Sanconnie charged down Luke Baldwin’s clearance to score with Benjamin Lapeyre adding the extras to level it at 7-7.

Replacement prop Val Rapava Ruskin bundled his way over with Ryan Mills chipping over the conversion to restore Worcester’s lead.

But the hosts bounced back again when Guillaume Ribes shoved his way over and replacement Germain levelled proceedings again at 14-14.

With both sides searching for a winner, play switched from end to end before Germain’s long-range kick at the death went over the posts as the Top 14 side pipped Warriors in agonising fashion.

Worcester now cannot qualify from Group Three with one game still to play against Russians Enisei-STM at Sixways on Saturday.

Both sides looked to get a foothold in the game in the early stages but neither were able to break into their opponents’ 22 until Perry Humphreys darted across the field before a kick-and-chase put pressure on the Brive backline.

The hosts recovered from the minor scare and after winning a couple of penalties Mathieu Ugalde kicked them to the corner and the forwards almost drove their side over.

The French outfit continued to mount the pressure on Warriors but the visitors’ pack held firm on the five-metre line to deny the hosts.

Despite Brive enjoying the upper-hand at the scrum, Warriors looked dangerous with ball in hand when finding the back-three trio of Humphreys, Dean Hammond and Ben Howard.

And Warriors got the first points on the board when back row Mama battered his way from the 22-metre line past tacklers for the opening try and Braid knocked over the extras.

Both sides had their share of possession and territory but neither could add anything to the scoreline before the interval as Warriors enjoyed a 7-0 lead.

But the hosts immediately replied after the break when Sanconnie charged down Baldwin’s clearance to score with Lapeyre converting to level proceedings.

Braid then had a chance to put Worcester ahead but his penalty kick sailed wide before the hosts piled the pressure on the visitors by their try line.

But Worcester again held firm and replacement Jonny Arr soon pounced on a loose ball to run down the right before kicking deep as Warriors sensed an opportunity. Brive found themselves in a spot of bother and after more pressure in their 22 replacement Rapava Ruskin charged his way over from close range with Mills adding the conversion.

But the hosts bounced back again when Ribes burrowed over from close range following another spell of territory by the five-metre line and Germain slotted the extras to level the tie once again before an end-to-end finale.

In a fiercely-contested battle, both sides searched for a winner in the last 15 and after Warriors were penalised on the Brive 22 with less than a minute remaining the home crowd roared their side on.

They kicked down to the opposition half before winning another penalty and versatile back Germain delivered an almighty 40-metre kick at the angle, dropping just over the posts to secure a narrow win for Brive and heartbreak for the travelling Warriors support.