WORCESTER Warriors were made to pay for a terrible start as Harlequins ran in seven tries in a home 47-33 triumph in the Gallagher Premiership.

Defensive lapses and individual mistakes allowed the London club to wrap up the bonus point by the 35th minute as Joe Marchant, Gabriel Ibitoye, Mike Brown and Jack Clifford went over.

Leading 23-7 at half-time Quins kicked on with further scores from Danny Care, Ben Tapuai and James Lang.

But second-from-bottom Worcester whose first-half try came from Jack Singleton showed fighting spirit to claim a valuable bonus point.

Well-worked moves saw Bryce Heem, Josh Adams, Michael Heaney and Tom Howe go over in a spirited second-half showing.

Sports reporter Geoff Berkeley picks out five talking points from Saturday’s defeat.


Not only did Francois Hougaard shank his first box kick but then failed to gather a kick in behind seconds later as Marchant pounced to score inside the opening minute.

The scrum-half has often been Warriors’ saviour but has struggled to hit those heights this season and was unable to shake off his early errors.

After knocking the ball on when under no pressure Quins struck again from the resultant scrum with Brown crossing.

Hougaard also missed a tackle on Tapuai in the build-up to Clifford’s try in the closing moments of a torrid first half.

To be fair to the 30-year-old he did win two turnovers – more than any of his team-mates managed – and assisted for Heem’s touchdown.

But this was a day to forget for the South African.


Hougaard was not the only player to have a bad day at the office as mistakes gifted Quins a healthy 21-point advantage at the break.

Brown twice caught Warriors napping when he snuck around the back of a ruck to go over in the corner before producing a fine chip for Clifford to dot down.

Worcester struggled to deal with kicks into the backfield by Care and Marcus Smith as Francois Venter’s collision with Heem when chasing back to retrieve the ball allowed Ibitoye to notch Quins’ second try.

It was calamitous at times as a pass from Venter hit the head of Michael Fatialofa and the hosts made the most of Worcester’s lapses in attack and defence.


While director of rugby Alan Solomons has rung the changes to great effect in the European Challenge Cup and Premiership Cup he has been pretty consistent with his Gallagher Premiership selection.

On paper, it looks like a very strong side with bags of talent in the back-line and experience at half-back but Warriors have underperformed far too often in the league.

When you see scrum-half Heaney, centre Ollie Lawrence, flanker Ted Hill and in-form wing Howe making an impact off the bench it is a reminder that Solomons has options.

Unfortunately Lawrence and Hill are unlikely to be available next weekend due to England under 20s commitments.

But fit-again duo Jono Lance and Jamie Shillcock are two players that might come into the reckoning for Sunday’s home clash with Leicester Tigers (1pm).


When you consider the two sides produced two 11-try thrillers at The Stoop last season it was perhaps no surprise to see another high-scoring encounter.

While neither defence coach will be happy there were some excellent scores and Worcester contributed to that.

Adams and Heaney finished off brilliant moves before Worcester pulled off the try of the match with a minute to go.

A clever chip out wide by Mills from inside his own 22 presented the ball to Heem who went charging down the left. Lawrence and Venter then combined before Howe went in under the posts.

Another positive for Warriors was the set-piece as they won all 14 of their lineouts under the management of Fatialofa. They also scored from a catch and drive in the opening period as Singleton crashed over.


With one away win in the league this season it was always going to be a tough task for Warriors to beat a high-flying Quins side.

Prior to this match Worcester had not picked up a point on their travels since their memorable victory at Leicester Tigers in September.

But Solomons’ men dug deep to ensure they did not leave empty-handed.

It was a crucial point for Worcester who have now opened up a five-point gap between themselves and bottom club Newcastle Falcons who lost 30-13 at Bath.