WORCESTER Warriors' Melani Nanai has apologised after being sent of in his side's defeat against Gloucester at Sixways.

Warriors lost their first game back in a humbling defeat to Gloucester, which saw Nanai sent off for a no-arms tackle on Jonny May.

Warriors were beaten 15-44, and Nanai took to Twitter to apologise.

He said: "Just wanted to say sorry to JonnyMay, my team mates, the staff at Worcester Warriors and all our fans for yesterday. It wasn’t my intention to tackle that way & sending my best to Jonny and the Gloucester team for the rest of the season."

Nanai’s sending off proved decisive and costly as rugby returned to Sixways after an absence of more than five months and in a surreal atmosphere.

Nanai was shown a red card after only 18 minutes for a high tackle on Jonny May which left Warriors to play more than three-quarters of the match with 14 men.

Warriors were leading 5-0 when Nanai departed thanks to a second minute try from Ted Hill in his first match as the club’s youngest-ever captain.

Warriors did well to restrict Gloucester to just a seven points lead at the break but it became increasingly difficult to contain their pacy backs in the second half although Scott van Breda managed to score a consolation try.

With social distancing regulations in place to prevent the spread of Coronavirus the match was played behind closed doors although non-playing members of Warriors’ squad seated in the South Stand did their best to replicate the Sixways Roar.

Billy Searle tried to extend the lead when he took a penalty from halfway but his kick fell just short of the target and Nanai, playing at full-back for the first time, gave a glimpse of his exciting talent when he ghosted through a couple of tackles and delivered a neat off-load.

The tries came thick and fast in the second half with Thorley crossing again followed by Louis Rees-Zammit, Jason Woodward and Stephen Varney with Van Breda powering over eight minutes from time.

READ MORE: Our full match-report from Warriors vs Gloucestershire