WORCESTER Warriors delivered the win a packed Sixways craved but their stuttering performance against 14-man London Irish left the fans wanting more.

Duncan Weir served up a 13-point haul in the first half before Jono Lance ensured victory with a converted try.

But having had a man advantage for more than half of this festive fixture following Motu Matu’u’s red card this win should have been far more emphatic.

A catalogue of handling errors and inaccuracies led to a scrappy match played in front of a sell-out crowd.

But, as they say, a win is a win and this triumph was Warriors’ fourth of the season, moving them back into Gallagher Premiership’s top six.

Geoff Berkeley picks out five talking points from Saturday’s 20-6 victory.


Warriors were leading 13-3 when Irish suffered a double blow which turned the match heavily in the home side’s favour.

Firstly, prop Allan Dell saw yellow for tackling Francois Hougaard without the ball.

Television match official (TMO) David Rose spotted the incident and Dell was rightly sin-binned by referee Ian Tempest.

Moments later the TMO intervened again after Matu’u flattened Weir with a late and high tackle. The hooker’s head went directly into Weir’s face as he appeared to make no attempt to bend his legs before clattering the Scot.

Tempest said it was “out of control” with a “high level of danger” before correctly brandishing a red card.

Weir was deemed fine to continue but is understood to have damaged some teeth and is expected to undergo a scan.


Playing against 13 men for a six-minute period, Warriors should have delivered the knockout punch, but they didn’t.

You have got to give the Exiles credit for hanging tough but whenever Worcester got hold of the ball they never looked like scoring.

Hougaard made two sloppy errors, Graham Kitchener was penalised for a side entry and Ryan Mills’ decision to kick in behind did little to worry Irish.

Mills and Hougaard kicked the ball away eight and seven times respectively while a turnover count of 23 did not help matters either.

Even when Lance went over on the hour mark, Warriors failed to kick on.

And they almost conceded a late try with Chris Pennell seeing yellow for a high tackle on Tom Stephenson who looked set to score.


With every seat filled inside Sixways and Warriors flags waving as players ran out the scene was set for an exciting afternoon of rugby.

Boosted by the 11,499-capacity crowd Worcester came flying out of the traps with Tom Howe crossing inside the first six minutes.

But the score was chalked off after replays showed that Howe lost control of the ball when he went to touch down.

And from then on it became a pretty turgid affair with only few moments to get the supporters on their feet.

Matu’u’s first-half red card did not help the contest as it dashed Irish’s hopes of mounting a serious threat to Warriors who looked like they needed that challenge to hit the high notes.

But the club did a terrific job to sell out the ground and hopefully those spectators will be back again.


Warriors have made no secret of their desire to finish in the top half of the table and that’s exactly where they sit at the turn of the year.

Looking back at their first seven matches of the season Worcester have not been at their best yet they find themselves in sixth position with four wins and three losses.

Winning is a habit and that’s certainly the case for Warriors at Sixways where they have won three of their four matches this term. In fact, they have secured eight victories in 10 Premiership home games in 2019 with their only defeats coming against Exeter Chiefs.

But if Worcester are to make it into the top six, they need to be picking up bonus points too.

And with Irish a man down and providing little threat Alan Solomons’ men should have claimed maximum points.


This was a better showing than the pitiful one they produced in last week’s 36-3 thrashing by Gloucester.

But there are still players that are not firing with Hougaard, Weir and Mills struggling to ignite the backline and Pennell yet to hit top form.

One of the best individual showings came from Howe who looked eager to please when coming in for the injured Melani Nanai, suggesting that more changes could give Worcester's back division that much-needed spark.

With Weir (jaw) likely to be sidelined, Lance who impressed off the bench looks set to be given a shot at Saracens on Saturday (3pm).

And it will be good to see centre Ollie Lawrence – a player who has got X-factor – back from injury on Monday night when Worcester Cavaliers host Northampton Wanderers (7.30pm).