WORCESTER Warriors’ set-piece frailties were exposed on another wretched afternoon at The Rec as a bullish Bath side claimed a comfortable Premiership victory.

Tries from Semesa Rokoduguni, Tom Ellis and Elliott Stooke ended Bath’s seven-match winless run in all competitions and saw them overtake Worcester in the table.

Warriors battled in defence and scored an excellent first-half try through Ryan Mills but their struggles at the lineout and in the scrum starved their potent back-line of the ball.


It will not take long for Warriors’ coaches to identify where the problem lay on Saturday when they sit down to review the game.

Time and time again Duncan Weir kicked the ball into touch only for his side to fail to secure it at the lineout.

At one stage in the second half the fly-half was forced to go for goal instead of the corner due the issues that were arising at the set-piece.

Whether it was a poor throw from Jack Singleton or Niall Annett, a mistimed lift or excellent work from Bath locks Elliot Stooke and Dave Attwood Worcester’s performance in that department was nowhere near good enough.

The scrum also creaked, especially in the second period, as Bath’s pack did the damage.


With every lineout that was lost Warriors’ need for Michael Fatialofa appeared to increase.

Fatialofa is settling into life at Sixways following his arrival from New Zealand with boss Alan Solomons keen to give him time to bed in.

But after Saturday’s set-piece horror show it is difficult to see Solomons holding the powerful second row back for much longer as Worcester look ahead to Friday’s home clash against Harlequins (7.45pm).

Fatialofa is not only an experienced lineout caller in Super Rugby but also has the size and stature to add extra grunt to Warriors’ set of forwards.


There has been plenty made of Worcester’s improved strength in depth this season over the past five weeks, highlighted by a weakened side winning against Stade Francais in Paris.

But Warriors’ support cast failed to hit those heights in Somerset with none of the replacements making a significant enough impact to turn the tide.

Lock Pierce Phillips, coming on for Darren Barry, found life just as tough in the lineout, props Gareth Milasinovich and Ethan Waller were pinged several times at the scrum and hooker Annett's throwing lacked accuracy.

Back rower Matt Cox spent most of his period on the field tackling while stand-off Jamie Shillcock only got a few minutes. Scrum-half Michael Heaney and centre Wynand Olivier were not even used.


There were a few positives to take from this loss and one of those was the performance of Sam Lewis.

Matti Williams has been producing the goods in the European Challenge Cup and Premiership Cup in recent weeks.

But Lewis showed why he is Warriors’ first-choice number seven with a superb all-around display. The 28-year-old was busy in attack and threw himself into every tackle.

Williams, meanwhile, started at blindside but made far too many mistakes in his first Premiership outing of the season.

Along with Lewis the other highlights were Chris Pennell’s break and offload to launch the attack that led to Mills’ try and Warriors’ rearguard action.

Worcester had just 27 per cent of possession but it took until the 78th minute before a Stooke try settled the contest.


This was built up as Warriors’ chance to end their winless record at The Rec.

Worcester were in buoyant mood after registering five wins in six games while Bath had not tasted victory since September 22.

But Todd Blackadder’s men did a fine job of nullifying Warriors’ attacking threats and crucially came out on top in the forward battle to ensure they returned to winning ways and left Warriors to stew over another defeat at Bath.