WORCESTER Warriors produced an inspired display to see off third-placed Gloucester and retain their place in the Gallagher Premiership for another season.

Second-half tries from Niall Annett and Darren Barry saw Warriors overcome a 15-13 half-time deficit to defeat their local rivals whose scores came from Willi Heinz and Henry Purdy (2).

Fly-half Duncan Weir racked up 17 points including a first-half try on a glorious day at Sixways in front of almost 10,000 spectators.

The triumph leaves Newcastle Falcons on the brink of relegation as they are nine points adrift of Leicester Tigers with two games remaining.

Sports reporter Geoff Berkeley picks out five talking points.


When the pressure is on and their top-flight status is on the line Warriors know what to do.

Worcester have finished in the bottom three in 10 of their past 12 seasons in the Premiership yet they have only been relegated twice.

And they completed their survival mission once again with impressive wins over play-off chasing Sale Sharks and third-placed Gloucester.

From the first minute to the last Worcester played with great energy and intensity to beat the Cherry and Whites who have not won at Sixways in the league since 2010.

The back-to-back wins have moved Warriors 11 points clear of the drop zone and into 10th position ahead of Saturday’s trip to Northampton Saints.


Warriors would have been looking to keep a tight rein on Danny Cipriani but the fly-half was a class above in the opening period.

He showed off his full passing range and his grubber kicks also caused issues.

Cipriani played a part in Gloucester’s first try as he fed Purdy who held off a tackle by Francois Venter to score.

However, Warriors’ number 10 also produced the goods in the first 40 minutes.

Duncan Weir not only landed two penalties but also started and finished his side’s first try.

Weir sent Perry Humphreys flying through a gap before some quick thinking saw him pick the ball up from the base of the ruck and ease under the posts.

The Scotland international also held his nerve to convert two further tries in the second half while Cipriani went off with a hand issue on 57 minutes.


Warriors came under heavy pressure in the first half and did well to stay in front for the most part of it.

Gloucester’s back-line were pulling Warriors one way and then the other with their decoy runners causing trouble.

But the home side were holding firm with Annett and Sam Lewis already clocking up tackle stats into double figures.

But their efforts were undone by a piece of brilliance two minutes before the interval.

Billy Twelvetrees hammered through the middle before Cipriani and Mark Atkinson linked up to release Heinz for an easy score under the posts.

It was a blow for Warriors but they responded in fine fashion after the break.


Unlike previous seasons Hougaard has faced criticism following a series of under-par performances.

But in the past three weeks the South African has showed his class and embodied Warriors’ defensive effort on Sunday afternoon.

Aside from a couple of kicks that went out on the full Hougaard was immense as he put his body on the line countless times, making 13 tackles.

The 31-year-old also injected pace and tempo into Worcester’s attack as he made a burst for the line in the lead-up to Barry’s try.

But Hougaard was among a number of Warriors players that had stellar displays as they shut out Gloucester in a tense final 10 minutes after Purdy crossed for his second.


Having signed for Newcastle ahead of next season some people could question whether Barry’s heart would be in Warriors’ survival fight.

But the 29-year-old answered that by giving his all for Worcester and produced some of his best rugby when it mattered most for his current club.

With Michael Fatialofa returning from injury, boss Alan Solomons could have given the New Zealander the number five shirt.

But he stuck by Barry and Solomons’ faith in the ex-Cornish Pirates forward was rewarded.

Barry stood up to the challenge of facing destructive duo Ed Slater and Franco Mostert in the lineout and was a rock in defence.

He also thundered over from close range for the match-winning try that put his new club Falcons starring down the barrel at relegation.


Warriors: Pennell 9; Humphreys 8, Venter 9, Te’o 8, Adams 8; Weir 8, HOUGAARD 9; Waller 8 (Black 65, 7), Annett 9 (Singleton 55, 7), Schonert 8 (Milasinovich 55, 7), Bresler 8 (Kitchener 62, 7), Barry 8 (Fatialofa 56, 8), Mama 8, Lewis 9, du Preez (Hill 56, 8) 8. Replacements not used: Heaney, Lance.

Gloucester: Banahan; Sharples (Woodward 63), Twelvetrees, Atkinson, Purdy; Cipriani (Evans 57), Heinz (Braley 72); Rapava Ruskin (Hohneck 51), Marais (Sherry 63), Denman (Balmain 51), Slater, Mostert, Ackermann (Ludlow 59), Polledri (Kriel 72), Morgan.

Attendance: 9,878.

Referee: JP Doyle.