WARRIORS ground out an attritional 6-0 Aviva Premiership victory over Wasps at Adams Park today to make a fine start to 2012.
A Joe Carlisle penalty in either half sealed the win for Richard Hill’s men, but the gloss was taken off the result by a serious knee injury for Warriors’ new recruit Ezra Taylor.
The Samoan international back-rower was pinned under a line-out less than two minutes into his Worcester debut, had to be stretchered off and looks likely to be sidelined for a number of months.
Jake Abbott was brought on to replace the luckless Taylor with Matt Kvesic switching to number eight.
The tricky conditions meant first-half chances were at a premium, but a good Miles Benjamin tackle and alert defending from captain Chris Pennell cleared the danger after fly-half Nick Robinson found wing flier Christian Wade with a smart cross-kick.
A lovely catch and break by Marcel Garvey took Worcester deep into Wasps territory before Abbott carried the ball on, but it was lost by the supporting forwards and the chance evaporated.
Wasps then missed touch with a penalty and Warriors fly-half Joe Carlisle tried an ambitious drop-goal from half-way, but the attempt was way off target.
The visitors’ play-maker had an immediate chance to make amends after Wasps went off their feet, but his long-range effort came up just short.
Richard Hill had handed a starting spot to Oliver Tomaszczyk at tighthead, but the big man struggled in the set-pieces and was hauled off to be replaced by Tevita Taumoepeau after just 26 minutes.
As the game continued to be dominated by handling errors from both sides, Worcester’s forwards gradually began to take the ascendancy.
A good counter-drive from the Warriors pack won a penalty near half-way three minutes before the break, which Carlisle drilled into touch.
From the line-out, another huge drive from Worcester’s forwards saw referee Wayne Barnes again award a penalty and Carlisle slotted the ball through the uprights to open the scoring with the last action of the half.
The two fly-halves traded missed drop-goals in the early stages of the second period before Warriors were reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes.
Wing Garvey was sin-binned for a trip on Tom Varndell as he chased his own kick, but Ryan Davis came up short with the resulting penalty.
The visitors managed to hold firm while a man down as Carlisle put in some fine positional kicks to pin Wasps back.
Wasps could have levelled matters on 64 minutes, but full-back Elliot Daly’s long-range penalty was poorly struck.
England scrum-half Joe Simpson then lost his cool by gifting Warriors a penalty as he mouthed off at the touch-judge in protest over a kick he believed had gone out on the full.
Carlisle slotted the resultant kick and Simpson was immediately hauled off to be replaced by Nic Berry. Warriors’ forwards managed to control the ball well until the final whistle to seal the win.