WORCESTER Warriors tasted success on the opening weekend of Gallagher Premiership for only the third time in their history with a 24-16 win over Leicester Tigers.

It was far from pretty with both teams making a catalogue of mistakes in a scrappy affair at Sixways.

But Warriors came away victorious thanks to the trusty right boot of Duncan Weir who bagged a 14-point haul.

Ted Hill and Perry Humphreys crossed in the first half before Weir kept his composure to land a trio of penalties in the final 15 minutes to seal victory.

Geoff Berkeley picks out five talking points from Saturday’s triumph.


You have got to go back to 2015 to see when Warriors last got a top-flight campaign off to a winning start with Tom Heathcote the drop-goal hero that day.

The other triumph in their 13 Premiership seasons came in 2011 so this latest win will be a welcome boost for the club.

Yet there was more relief than joy from Warriors’ supporters who witnessed a turgid contest.

For the most part it looked like going either way with Worcester falling behind on four occasions as Tom Youngs went over from an early driving maul and Tom Hardwick kicked 11 points.

But crucially Leicester missed three penalties including two in the final quarter while Weir seized his opportunities.

Worcester may have lost this tense tussle in previous years but managed to hold their nerve this time out.


Warriors will be happy with the result and two well-taken tries with Hill powering home before Cornell du Preez brilliantly fed Humphreys for the second.

But this was a not good performance. There were handling errors aplenty, misplaced passes, mistakes at the scrum and a high penalty count.

At one stage in the first half Worcester went from an attacking position in the 22 to conceding three points minutes later courtesy of knocks on by Weir and du Preez, a lineout mishap and then a penalty conceded by Graham Kitchener. To cap it off, Weir then kicked the ball out on the full from the restart.

There were several more squandered chances with Conor Carey pinged for holding on close to the try-line and Pennell failing to provide the try-scoring pass to Melani Nanai.

But fortunately for Warriors Leicester were even more wasteful.


Leicester must be getting sick of the sight of Hill. The flanker has now scored four tries in four of Warriors’ five successive wins over Tigers in the past 13 months.

Hill started that run with a memorable match-winning double at Welford Road in September last year. That proved to be a launch pad for Hill who must be one of the first names on Alan Solomons’ team-sheet.

Hill was simply unstoppable when he received Ryan Mills’ pass on the 22 as he flattened two Tigers players on his way to the try-line.

The 20-year-old was a thorn in Tigers’ side as he claimed a vital lineout steal on the five-metre line just before half-time and constantly crashed through tackles like a battering ram.

Hooker Niall Annett, lock Anton Bresler and back rower Cornell du Preez also punched holes in Leicester’s defence while wispy wing Melani Nanai used his footwork to great effect.


With Weir not at his best in defeats at Bath and Wasps there were calls for Jono Lance to get the nod at fly-half.

But Weir’s accuracy from the tee is proving too hard for Solomons to overlook. It turned out to be a good decision with the Scotland stand-off landing five of his six kicks.

The most important one came on 75 minutes when he slotted home from just inside the halfway line.

But Warriors still struggled to click in attack and while Weir is reliable offensive-minded Lance can add that extra spark.

Tom Howe will also be disappointed to miss out having notched a hat-trick in the loss to Exeter Chiefs two weeks ago.

But Humphreys who has won three times as many Premiership caps as Howe was trusted with the number 14 shirt and did not disappoint as he went over in the first half.


The 2019-20 Premiership season may be only a week old but that felt like a crucial victory for Warriors.

Had Worcester fallen short against a Leicester side missing nine internationals, the signs for the rest of the campaign would not look good.

This win will now give them a spring in their step ahead of meetings with Northampton Saints, Exeter and Harlequins in the next three weeks.

But they will need to improve in many departments to test Northampton who pulled off a shock 27-25 victory at reigning champions Saracens on Saturday.

Playing at Franklin’s Gardens adds a further challenge but if Warriors a serious about being a top-six side they need to claim more points on the road.