WORCESTER Warriors produced their worst performance in Alan Solomons’ 12-month reign as director of rugby as Northampton Saints served up a pre-Christmas stuffing at Sixways.

The hosts trailed by just six points until the 58th minute but a disastrous lineout and a lacklustre attacking display dashed any hopes of a comeback.

Instead Saints were gift wrapped two second-half tries with Cobus Reinach and Luther Burrell intercepting passes from Francois Hougaard and Duncan Weir respectively to score.

Dan Biggar also added 20 points from the tee as the visitors condemned Worcester to a dismal Gallagher Premiership defeat.

Sports reporter Geoff Berkeley picked out five talking points from Friday night’s trouncing.


With a kicking accuracy of 91 per cent heading into this clash Warriors have come to expect Weir to deliver his best every weekend.

But the fly-half had an off-day.

It all went wrong from the kick-off as he sent the ball directly into touch and that appeared to set the tone for the contest.

After Biggar opened the scoring Weir then missed what he would consider to be a routine three-pointer before failing to land a long-range penalty at the end of the first half.

Things failed to get any better for the Scot after the break. In fact, they got worse as he watched on in horror as Burrell pounced on his loose pass to put Saints out of sight.


There was only one South African number nine on top of his game at Sixways and that was Saints ace Reinach.

While Hougaard’s box kicking tactics did little to spark Worcester into life Reinach ran the show along with Wales stand-off Biggar.

The turning point came just before the hour mark when Reinach stopped Hougaard short of the try-line with Warriors 12-6 down.

Seconds later Hougaard’s pass was then intercepted by Reinach who outpaced Josh Adams and Chris Pennell to score from 75 metres out.


It’s been pretty clear for a while where Warriors’ main issue lies in the Premiership yet it shows little sign of improving.

Aside from their victory over Harlequins Worcester’s lineout malfunctioned badly against Bath, Gloucester and now Northampton.

It was so bad on Friday night they lost four lineouts in succession. The most calamitous of those came when Joe Taufete’e threw in and none of Warriors’ jumpers even leapt for the ball.

There was hope Michael Fatialofa would be the answer to their problems but the set-piece performed poorly under his leadership leaving Solomons and his coaches with plenty to ponder.


The performance of Warriors’ scrum was the only positive on a miserable, wet evening with uncapped England hopes Nick Schonert at the forefront.

The tighthead prop underlined his international quality with a top-class scrummaging display against Northampton’s Alex Waller. Callum Black and Jack Singleton also showed their muscle in the scrum, with the former winning a couple of penalties.

But the front row’s efforts were not enough to inspire Worcester.


There was talk amongst fans before the match that Worcester’s starting line-up against Saints was their strongest ever with several key players returning.

But this is arguably the toughest Premiership season ever and if you don’t turn up you will pay a big price.

Whether the pressure got to them or it was merely a bad day at the office but Worcester were sluggish from the off and could have fallen to an even heavier defeat had Saints made the most of some gaping holes in the home defence late on.

A daunting trip to defending champions Saracens now awaits but at least Warriors will go there without any expectations and will be keen to bounce back.