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Worcester hang on to secure rare win over Wasps in hope of kick-starting season

·4-min read
Worcester hang on to secure rare win over Wasps in hope of kick-starting season - GETTY IMAGES
Worcester hang on to secure rare win over Wasps in hope of kick-starting season - GETTY IMAGES

Worcester Warriors ran in four tries at Sixways to secure their first win over Wasps for eight years and offer hope that the tide is finally beginning to turn.

It was a result achieved through the commitment and hard work that was evident in the home victory over Sale in October and was aided in no small part by excellent performances from summer recruits Duhan van der Merwe and Rory Sutherland and 13 points from the boot of Fin Smith.

The ability of Thomas to select some of his summer signings in a strong matchday squad, was in stark contrast to Wasps, who arrived at Sixways with 18 players unavailable to head coach Lee Blackett. That should not detract from Worcester, who held on to claim a priceless victory.

"I am really proud of the players for winning the game," said Worcester head coach Jonathan Thomas.

"Wasps showed real character to come back, we opened up a substantial lead and they fought really well, and they played well at times - well done to Wasps. We saw the game out in the end and it's fine margins.

"Fin's kicks were important for us and apologies for the cliche, but it was a game of two halves."

Co-captain Ted Hill added: "We are putting some results together and that breeds confidence. We know we still have a lot to do, but we are moving in the right direction.

"It is a reflection of all the hard work everyone is putting in and it is good that we are climbing the table. People have a perception about us when it comes to the league and results like this will change it."

The hosts had giant Scotland and Lions wing Van der Merwe to thank for their first try as he broke down the field before putting Joe Simpson over for the score. Wasps were next to score when giant lock Vaea Fifita touched down before Van der Merwe hit back with a try from inside his own half.

Wasps struck back through Dan Frost, with the mobile hooker racing over after collecting a pass from Jimmy Gopperth. At 17-14, the game was finally poised, but then Worcester thundered back with a penalty from Smith and a try for co-captain Ted Hill. After the interval, Worcester got the scoreboard moving once again within a few minutes, with replacement nine Will Chudley crossing for their fourth try.

As the half wore on, Wasps started to apply a huge amount of pressure on the hosts, with Graham Kitchener seeing yellow for the hosts. The numerical advantage paid almost immediate dividends, with replacement Sam Wolstenholme crossing.

With just minutes left on the clock, Wasps kicked to the corner and after claiming the line-out, worked their way over thanks to Tom Willis but it was too little too late. "I am disappointed," said Wasps head coach Lee Blackett.

"The last two games we have had comebacks where we could have walked away with 10 points. We had conceded 25 points by half-time and no club is going to be happy with conceding that many points in the first-half.

"We just gave ourselves far too much to do."

Match details

Scoring sequence: 4 min G Simpson Try 5-0; 6 min F Smith Con 7-0; 17 min V Fifita Try 7-5; 18 min J Gopperth Con 7-7; 21 min F Smith Pen 10-7; 22 min D van der Merve Try 15-7; 24 min F Smith Con 17-7; 26 min D Frost Try 17-12; 28 min J Gopperth Con 17-14; 31 min F Smith Pen 20-14; 38 min T Hill Try 25-14; 43 min W Chudley Try 30-14; 44 min F Smith Con 32-14; 52 min D Frost Try 32-19; 65 min S Wolstenholme Try 32-24; 66 min J Gopperth Con 32-26; 78 min T Willis Try 32-31

Worcester: J Shillcock; M Nanai, F Venter (co-capt), A Beck (Lawrence 40), D van der Merwe; F Smith (B Searle 62), G Simpson (Chudley 40); R Sutherland (E Waller 71), N Annett (S Baldwin 62), C Judge (J Tyack 57), M Garvey (Batley 18), G Kitchener, K Hatherell, T Hill (co-capt), S Vailanu (S Lewis 57)

Wasps: M Watson; Z Kibirige, A McHenry, J Gopperth, J Bassett (Minozzi 2-12); J Umaga, W Porter (S Wolstenholme 58); R Hislop (T West 45), D Frost (G Oghre 58), J Toomaga-Allen (Millar-Mills 51), V Fifita (de Chaves 28), E Stooke, B Shields (capt) (N Carr 78), T Young (A Barbeary 45), T Willis

Referee: Tom Foley (RFU)

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