Worcester Warriors 23 Leicester Tigers 28

WORCESTER Warriors’ battered and bruised players will head off for a well-deserved break after a season embroiled in a relegation battle.

But when Warriors return they will need to improve in several departments to ensure the club do not have another fight on their hands in the Aviva Premiership next term.

Try-scoring is certainly not one of them as Worcester chalked up three tries against fourth-placed Leicester Tigers to increase their tally to 56 for the season.

Yet it was still not enough to finish their campaign on a high as a faltering set-piece, ill-discipline and individual mistakes handed Leicester the initiative.

Tigers also showed what a difference it makes to have a top-class fly-half on your books.

Freddie Burns was instrumental in the victory at Sixways as he landed 23 points including a timely drop goal to put the visitors back in front.

His opposite number Ryan Mills, meanwhile, fired over two monster penalties and a touchline conversion.

However, he kicked the ball directly out of touch on far too many occasions to emphasise Gary Gold’s need to strengthen the number 10 position this summer.

The home fans will also be yearning to see centre Wynand Olivier and flanker Dewald Potiegier back in blue and gold.

The two Springboks are understood to be close to agreeing new deals and they produced impressive performances along with number eight Marco Mama and wing Bryce Heem as Warriors went toe-to-toe with Tigers.

In the end, though, the boot of Burns and a first-half try from Tom Youngs condemned Worcester to their 15th defeat and left Gold with much to ponder ahead of his first pre-season with the team.

With loosehead Val Rapava Ruskin suspended and tighthead Nick Schonert injured it was always going to be a task ask against a power-packed Leicester side keen to secure their place in the top four.

After driving Warriors back the away side opened the scoring with a Burns penalty on 12 minutes.

A booming kick from just inside the halfway line by Mills levelled the scores before Burns put Leicester back in front at 6-3.

But it was Worcester who were looking the most likely to get a try on the board.

Mama was stopped agonisingly short as Worcester threatened but a couple of penalties allowed Tigers to go straight down the other end.

They then secured a line-out and Youngs trundled over from close range with Burns adding the extras.

Warriors hit back moments later with a converted try as Chris Pennell darted through to score.

But Burns added a third penalty after Worcester’s scrum buckled under pressure.

Mills was having a mixed afternoon as he pushed an effort wide from the tee before striking home a stunning long-range penalty on the stroke of half-time.

Warriors were trailing 16-13 at the break and they went ahead at the start of the second half.

Heem pounced on a mistake from Matthew Tait before brushing off a few tackles on his way to the try-line.

But a drop goal and two penalties from Burns gave Tigers a 25-18 lead as Warriors paid the price for a poor penalty count.

After replacement Alafoti Fa’osiliva butchered two scoring opportunities Olivier gathered a pass from Ryan Lamb to cap off a stellar display with a try. But Lamb missed the conversion as Warriors’ kicking problems continued before Burns slotted home a penalty late on to wrap up the win.