WORCESTER Warriors struck twice in a late flurry to come away with a try-bonus point from a 36-28 defeat at Bath that keeps them top of Pool C in the Premiership Cup.

Despite going down to 14 men with Sam Lewis in the sin-bin Warriors never gave up and got their rewards with tries from Ted Hill and Francois Hougaard in the final two minutes.

However, a sluggish start that allowed Bath to move into a commanding 24-0 lead ultimately proved too much for Worcester to overcome.

And injuries to several players did not help Warriors’ cause as they tried to battle their way back into the match.

Geoff Berkeley picks out five talking points from the Premiership Cup defeat.


Warriors have a habit of pulling off second-half fightbacks. Their never-say-die attitude helped them claim numerous vital points last season and they were at it again on Saturday.

However poor starts were also a common theme and Worcester gave themselves another mountain to climb at The Rec.

Yes, Bath took their chances as they scored 24 unanswered points, but Warriors made just three entries inside the 22 in the first 30 minutes.

The visitors continually attacked up the middle to little effect in the first half and made far too many mistakes.

The fact it was a first competitive game for a lot of players no doubt played a part in their sluggish start, but history suggests this is an issue that has yet to be resolved.


Aside from Dean Hammond’s head injury Warriors came away from their opening test against Leicester Tigers unscathed.

But Lady Luck failed to shine on them again.

Firstly, Will Butler injured his ankle. The centre tried to run it off only to be replaced after just 15 minutes.

Warriors were then knocked by injuries to two tighthead props in quick succession at the start of the second period.

Nick Schonert looked in real discomfort when he was helped off after receiving a blow to his right ankle.

To make matters worse, Schonert’s replacement Richard Palframan lasted a few minutes before going off for a head injury assessment (HIA).

Melani Nanai also had to undergo a HIA in the final five minutes and did not return to the pitch.


Nanai’s late blow to the head cut short an absorbing first outing in Warriors colours for the ex-Super Rugby star.

Worcester fans’ eyes were on the marquee signing to see what he could produce and it took just a minute before he got his hands on the ball as he was released into space by Ollie Lawrence only to be tackled by Levi Davis.

Nanai popped up all over the place, producing a great sidestep to skip away from a defender in the build-up to Marco Mama’s try and pulled off some skilful passes.

But he also made handling errors and was exposed defensively with two of Bath’s tries coming down his flank. His missed tackle on Tom Homer resulted in an early score for Will Chudley.


It would be remiss of me not to mention Nanai’s debut display without talking about arguably the moment of the match.

It came on the hour mark. A Freddie Burns chip fell to Nanai on Warriors’ five-metre line. With space opening up in front of him, Nanai just pinned his ears back and sprinted for his life.

The wing appeared to have too much gas for the opposition as he headed for the corner, but Tom de Glanville had other ideas.

The try-line was beckoning and Nanai looked set to score but somehow de Glanville managed to haul him down to the ground.

Fortunately for Worcester, Lawrence went over off the resulting lineout but the try-saving tackle by 19-year-old de Glanville deserves applause.


When fit Gerrit-Jan van Velze has often been the go-to man to anchor Warriors’ pack.

But the captain is facing increasing competition from Cornell du Preez ahead of the new Gallagher Premiership season.

Van Velze did well in last weekend’s victory over Leicester but du Preez did better against Bath.

The Scotland international, who missed the majority of the 2018-19 campaign due to a throat injury, was a force to be reckoned with.

Not only did he make many metres through sheer brute force and tenacity but was able to offload out of the tackle to keep the ball moving.

Du Preez was also a rock in defence, superbly stripping prop Beno Obano in a maul and brilliantly holding the ball up over the try-line when Bath looked poised to touch down.