THE same old habits reared their ugly heads in Worcester Warriors’ 28-16 defeat at Wasps to leave them perilously placed above the Gallagher Premiership drop zone.

A sloppy start and lapses in concentration – two faults Warriors have failed to overcome this season – resulted in another missed opportunity in their fight to avoid relegation.

Second-from-bottom Worcester gave themselves hope when closing the gap from 21-3 to 21-16 thanks to Sam Lewis’ try and a long-range Chris Pennell penalty.

But Wasps ended their four-match losing streak with a bonus-point triumph as Nathan Hughes crossed for the second time late on.

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


Once again Warriors gave themselves a mountain to climb. With just a quarter of the game gone Worcester had conceded three converted tries and were 21-3 down.

After showing early intent with Duncan Weir landing the second of his attempts at goal, the visitors suddenly found themselves on the back foot.

Hughes, Marcus Watson and Zurab Zhvania went over to leave Alan Solomons’ men with it all to do.

But this shoddy start comes as no surprise as Worcester have been trailing after the first 20 minutes in 18 matches this term. More worryingly for Solomons and his coaches is that 11 of those slow starts have come in their past 12 games.

And with four fixtures left to retain their top-flight status this is an alarming trend that could prove critical in their battle to stay up.


With the clock dead Warriors created a chance to salvage a valuable point as they worked the ball from deep to inside Wasps’ 22.

It was a rare opportunity for Warriors who struggled for territory in the second half and they failed to make the most of it as Joe Taufete’e knocked on Cornell du Preez’s offload.

Taufete’e’s spillage was among a catalogue of errors made by the visitors. The most significant mistake came on six minutes.

Moments after Weir had kicked his side in front Darren Barry fumbled the restart before Hughes smashed his way over and the momentum swung heavily in Wasps’ favour.

You have got to give Wasps some credit as they failed to concede a point while Gaby Lovobalavu was in the sin-binned.

But Worcester coughed up far too much ball and when they switched off Wasps pounced.


There were not too many positives to glean from this defeat but Francois Hougaard’s cover tackle on Brad Shields should feature in the highlights package.

Shields was clean through after gathering the ball that Chris Pennell thought had bounced out of play.

But Pennell’s blushes were spared when Hougaard showed great desire to chase down Shields and knock the ball out of his hands.

Hougaard was one of the better performers on the day for Warriors with flanker Sam Lewis and number eight Mama also producing dogged displays.

But Wasps powerhouse Hughes was on another level as he battered forward on countless occasions and touched down for two richly-deserved tries.


Compared to other sides Warriors have not done too badly on the injury front this season but they were missing several key men for the trip to Coventry.

Wing Bryce Heem (foot), fly-half Jono Lance (head) and second rowers Michael Fatialofa (knee) and Pierce Phillips (head) were deemed not fit to play.

And on the morning of the match Worcester were handed another blow when tighthead prop Nick Schonert woke up with pain in his back and was forced to pull out.

Had these players played it may have been a different outcome as Warriors missed Heem in attack and Schonert in the scrum.

There were also further injury concerns for Solomons after the game as wing Josh Adams (leg) and lock Anton Bresler (calf) suffered knocks while prop Callum Black and hooker Niall Annett had to be bandaged up by medics.


With Wasps in poor form this was a match Warriors would have been hoping to gain at least a point from.

But for the sixth time this term the Sixways side returned home empty-handed from an away league game.

Fortunately for Worcester the gap between themselves and Newcastle remains three points as Falcons lost 26-12 at Saracens.

Third-from-bottom Leicester Tigers were crushed 52-20 to Exeter Chiefs at Welford Road while Bristol Bears picked up a point from a 26-19 defeat to Bath at Twickenham.

There are now four games to left and with their next two at Sixways, starting with Sale Sharks next Saturday (3pm) Warriors need to make sure they come out firing on all cylinders.