Gold's men secure historic win
PREMIERSHIP WRAP: Worcester Warriors claimed their first-ever win against Leicester Tigers at Welford Road to make it back to back Premiership Rugby victories.
Bottom of the table and winless after seven rounds of league action, the Warriors have hit their stride in spectacular style and Leicester Tigers were powerless to stop them as the visitors held on for a bonus point win on Saturday.
Elsewhere, Springbok Francois De Klerk's performance helped Sale Sharks secured a narrow 18-15 win over Northampton Saints.
In a clash where the pendulum swung from one way to the other, the two teams continually edged in front of each other but Will Cliff’s boot ultimately proved decisive, with Sale returning to winning ways in Premiership Rugby.
Bath Rugby produced a blistering first 20 minutes to wrap up a bonus point on their way to a convincing 38-14 win over Harlequins at the Rec
Sale Sharks 18-15 Northampton Saints
Faf de Klerk kicked the hosts into an early lead but with 13 minutes on the clock, the visitors opened their account for the evening, Jacobus Reinach charging down a de Klerk kick and blazing over the line.
The Saints extended their lead in the 21st minute when they edged the ball over the line among a swarm of bodies, Mike Haywood credited with the eventual score and Harry Mallinder kicking the extras.
A tense, tight encounter was finely poised at the break after Sale’s de Klerk broke free from the breakdown and charged over the whitewash, the South African then dusting himself down to convert his own score and make it 12-10 to Northampton at the break.
Just four minutes into the second period, the Sharks picked up where they left off, quickly popping the ball out to the right flank where teenage ace Ben Curry was on handy to make 15-12, raising the roof off the AJ Bell Stadium.
However, a successful Mallinder penalty 10 minutes later brought the teams level at 15-15.
A nip-and-tuck encounter continued as Sale edged their noses in front again in the 63rd minute as Cliff dissected the posts and shortly afterwards, Marland Yarde missed the opportunity to extend the Sharks’ lead as he failed to control a chipped kick forward on the left flank.
With full-time approaching, Northampton turned down the chance to kick for a match-levelling penalty and instead went in search of a match-winning try.
After kicking for the corner and then buffeting at the Sale's backline at the death, the Saints were unable to fashion a breakthrough, with a knock-on sealing a Sharks victory.
Tries: De Klerk, Curry
Con: De Klerk
Pens: De Klerk, Cliff
Tries: Reinach, Harrison
Yellow Cards: Michael Paterson (Northampton Saints, 24), Jamal Ford-Robinson (Northampton Saints, 33), Ben Foden (Northampton Saints, 62)
Sale: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Denny Solomona, 13 Sam James, 12 Mark Jennings, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Ben Curry, 6 Jono Ross (captain), 5 Andre Ostrikov, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 WillGriff John, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Ross Harrison
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 James Flynn, 18 Halani Aulika, 19 George Nott, 20 Cameron Neild, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Rohan van Rensburg, 23 Will Addison
Northampton: 15 Harry Mallinder, 14 Juan Pablo Estelles, 13 Rory Hutchinson, 12 Tom Stephenson, 11 Ben Foden, 10 James Grayson, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Teimana Harrison, 7 Jamie Gibson, 6 Tom Wood, 5 Sam Dickinson (captain), 4 Michael Paterson, 3 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Reece Marshall, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Alex Moon, 20 Mitch Eadie, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Stephen Myler, 23 Tom Collins
Referee: Karl Dickson
Assistant referees: John Meredith, Wayne Falla
TMO: Trevor Fisher
Leicester Tigers 27-31 Worcester Warriors
Despite being on a six-match winning run in the league, the Tigers were caught cold by the Warriors who had three tries in the first half.
First, the Warriors pack produced a rolling maul and Alafoti Faosiliva emerged at the bottom of the pile of bodies as the try scorer.
And then Adams dived onto Ryan Mills’ clever kick for their second try inside six minutes, Chris Pennell converting one of the two scores for a 12-0 lead.
The Tigers were never going to roll over on home soil however, especially considering they have beaten Worcester every time they have faced each other on this ground – a run that stretches back to the 19th century.
Mike Fitzgerald finally got the Tigers try that their pressure was threatening as the first half wore on, the lock cutting back after the ball was spread left to dive over.
Joe Ford – deputising for his younger brother George on England duty – slotted the extras and a subsequent penalty to trim the lead to 12-10.
But Adams then struck again for Warriors, cutting a superb line off an inside pass from Jono Lance to burst clear and shrug off Matt Smith for a fine solo score.
Pennell’s conversion meant it was looking like a 19-10 scoreline at the break before a rolling maul from the Tigers well past the 40-minute mark produced their second try – Sam Harrison the scorer.
Leading 19-17 at the break, the Warriors wasted little time in stretching their lead in the second half and what a try it was.
Bryce Heem led the breakout from his own 22 and when the ball was spread right Pennell and Faosiliva combined to put Jack Singleton in the corner for their fourth try and a bonus point.
Pennell’s conversion made it a nine-point lead at 26-17 and as the hour mark came and went the Tigers could not close the gap.
Nick Schonert was shown a yellow card just after the hour mark and when Ford slotted a penalty soon after the lead was only six points with Warriors a man down and a quarter of an hour to go.
But Mills showed some magic to swivel over the line for their fifth try and despite Gareth Owen’s late score that made it a dramatic finish, Gary Gold’s side held on for a famous win.
Tries: Fitzgerald, Harrison, Owen
Cons: Ford 3
Pens: Ford 2
Tries: Faosiliva, Adams 2, Singleton, Mills
Cons: Pennell 2, Lance
Yellow Card: Nick Schonert (Worcester Warriors, 63)
Leicester: 15 Telusa Veainu, 14 Nick Malouf, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Gareth Owen, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 Joe Ford, 9 Sam Harrison (captain), 8 Valentino Mapapalangi, 7 Brendon O’Connor, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Mike Fitzgerald, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Harry Thacker, 1 Greg Bateman
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Kyle Traynor, 18 Chris Baumann, 19 Harry Wells, 20 Will Evans, 21 Ben White, 22 Tom Hardwick, 23 Mathew Tait
Worcester: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Jackson Willison, 12 Ryan Mills, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 GJ van Velze, 7 Sam Lewis, 6 Alafoti Faosiliva, 5 Will Spencer, 4 Donncha O‘Callaghan (captain), 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Jack Singleton, 1 Ethan Waller
Replacements: 16 Kurt Haupt, 17 Ryan Bower, 18 Gareth Milasinovich, 19 Christian Scotland-Williamson, 20 David Denton, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Sam Olver, 23 Dean Hammond
Referee: Greg Macdonald
Assistant referees: Jack Makepeace, Simon McConnell
TMO: Mark Lewis
Bath 38-14 Harlequins
Paul Grant, Freddie Burns, Elliott Stooke and Matt Banahan all crossed in the opening quarter as Bath moved back into the top four with a five-point victory.
They made the perfect start with a try after just two minutes from back-rower Grant. It was made by teammate Zach Mercer, who beat a string of defenders before offloading for Grant to run it in, with Burns converting.
Things got worse for Harlequins when they lost James Chisholm to a yellow card for a dangerous clearout on Kahn Fotuali’i.
Bath took full advantage of his absence to run in three further tries and wrap up the bonus point in just 18 minutes.
First Burns went over after Banahan had been stopped just short. He was quickly followed by Stooke with Banahan again at the heart of it.
And the centre finally got over himself after brilliant work from Fotuali’i to stretch the lead out to 26-0.
Harlequins responded just after the half-hour with a try from Henry Cheeseman, taking the ball from Jono Kitto, with James Lang converting.
But it was Bath who had the final say in the half with a Burns penalty to make it 29-7 at the break.
The first 20 minutes of the second quarter were much quieter than the equivalent in the first but on 61 minutes Burns added three more points for the home side.
Harlequins had grown into the game though and got their second try with some magic from winger Gabriel Ibitoye. The England Under-20s flyer showed his pace to race over from inside his own half and notch a first Harlequins try.
Still, Bath had the game in hand, with Josh Lewis adding two further penalties to wrap it up.
Tries: Grant, Burns, Stooke, Banahan
Cons: Burns 3
Pens: Burns 2, Lewis
Tries: Cheeseman, Ibitoye
Cons: Lang 2
Yellow Card: James Chisholm (Harlequins, 8)
Bath: 15 James Wilson, 14 Jack Wilson, 13 Matt Banahan, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Aled Brew, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Kahn Fotuali’i, 8 Paul Grant, 7 Zach Mercer, 6 Matt Garvey (captain), 5 Elliott Stooke, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Beno Obano
Replacements: 16 Michael van Vuuren, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 Levi Douglas, 20 Josh Bayliss, 21 Chris Cook, 22 Josh Lewis, 23 Darren Atkins
Harlequins: 15 Ross Chisholm, 14 Charlie Walker, 13 Alofa Alofa, 12 James Lang, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Jono Kitto, 8 Mat Luamanu, 7 James Chisholm, 6 Ben Glynn, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Charlie Matthews, 3 Will Collier, 2 Dave Ward, 1 Lewis Boyce
Replacements: 16 Elia Elia, 17 Cameron Holenstein, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Dino Lamb, 20 Archie White, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Henry Cheeseman, 23 Gabriel Ibitoye
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant referees: Andrew Jackson, Philip Watters
TMO: David Rose