WARRIORS blew a 15-point lead to crash out of Europe having been on the cusp of glory in a 33-27 home defeat to Castres.

The French side left with a first win on English soil since 2001 thanks largely to hat-trick hero Rory Kockott whose kicking and role at the heart of the play helped shift momentum at Sixways.

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Jamie Shillcock and Marco Mama took advantage of the Red Sea parting in the first half with a slick shimmy from Perry Humphreys laying on the third for Michael Heaney.

At 27-12 it felt like a matter of time before Warriors rubber stamped a safe passage into the last eight but Castres hit back within seconds of a quadruple change by the hosts who never recovered.

Duncan Weir landed an early penalty but Castres moved in front when Kockott dabbed down following a scramble.

No sooner had that happened than Shillcock sauntered through with the opposition waiting for a knock-on call that didn’t come and Weir had the simple task of making it 10-5.

Warriors had plenty of the ball and enjoyed flashes of inspiration, not least through forceful forays by Ollie Lawrence and Mama.

Castres came back but little errors at key times proved costly, particularly in the build up to Worcester’s second try.

The initial break was thwarted but with the ball worked back inside to Ted Hill, he surged through and released just as the tackle from the last man came to put it on a plate for Mama.

Weir converted but back came the visitors with Wilfrid Hounkpatin picking up a pass and forcing his way forward, just about getting over the line.

Collapsing scrums had been an Achilles heel for Castres and Weir opted to kick with 40 already on the clock to hand Warriors an eight-point cushion at the interval.

Worcester began the second half on the front foot and looked to be in cruise control when Humphreys did the graft for Heaney to land a sitter.

The turning point came with Castres getting through second after four changes, Alex Tulou waltzing in behind to find Kockott to reduce the arrears.

Humphreys dropped the ball near his own 22 and Castres scented blood, pushing and probing incessantly, albeit against a strong rearguard for a time.

A driving maul did not yield a score, nor did opening up the play from it as Weir kicked clear but wave after wave kept coming.

Replacement GJ van Velze got sin-binned minutes after his introduction and that made a tough task insurmountable with Warriors allowing Baptiste Delaporte to force his way through two minutes later.

Kockott closed the gap to one with the boot and while Worcester still needed another try to get the bonus they needed, the next score went the other way when Kockott got his third and converted.

Hope was still present with Warriors requiring a converted try to send both teams through but it never looked likely as Castres saw through a memorable triumph with ease.


PEN 9 Weir 3-0

TRY 16 Kockott 3-5

TRY 19 Shillcock 8-5

CON 20 Weir 10-5

TRY 33 Mama 15-5

CON 34 Weir 17-5

TRY 37 Hounkpatin 17-10

CON 38 Kockott 17-12

PEN 40 Weir 20-12

TRY 46 Heaney 25-12

CON 47 Weir 27-12

TRY 55 Kockott 27-17

CON 56 Kockott 27-19

SIN BIN 68 van Velze

TRY 70 Baptiste 27-24

CON 71 Kockott 27-26

TRY 75 Kockott 27-31

CON 76 Kockott 27-33