Bok stars as Worcester add to Sarries' misery
PREMIERSHIP WRAP: Springboks and Worcester Warriors scrumhalf Francois Hougaard scored a brace of tries during his team’s 40-27 win over Saracens on Wednesday.
Warriors signed off their Sixways season with a third bonus-point win since the resumption against an inexperienced Saracens side who played a full part in a high-scoring contest.
Warriors had the bonus point wrapped up inside 31 minutes thanks to a first-half brace from the influential Francois Hougaard who also set up another for Noah Heward.
But momentum was lost in a disjointed second half and Warriors required late tries from Ashley Beck and skipper Ted Hill to see off Saracens.
The positives for Warriors were the return to action of Perry Humphreys and Marco Mama after lengthy injury lay-offs and a debut off the bench for former Bristol Bears lock Joe Batley, recently recovered from a foot injury.
Justin Clegg bossed the lineouts in the absence of the injured Graham Kitchener and rookie Heward again looked calm and composed on the left wing.
Heavy rain immediately before kick-off and for the first 20 minutes made handling difficult but both sides produced some entertaining attacking rugby and served up seven tries before the break.
Hougaard led the way with a close-range effort after three minutes when Billy Searle kicked a penalty to the corner, Clegg won the lineout and Saracens were drawn offside at the driving maul.
Referee Karl Dickson played advantage and Hougaard capitalised, picking a gap in the defence and powering over for the try which Searle improved.
Saracens drew level again with their first visit to Warriors’ 22 when they won a lineout, went through the phases and centre Charlie Watson crashed over with Manu Vunipola converting.
Warriors responded with a try from Heward, set up by a clever kick through from Hougaard. The referee checked with TMO Sara Cox for a possible offside but the try was good and Searle added a difficult conversion.
The scores were level again within a minute as Warriors failed to secure the restart and Rotimi Segun wriggled free and Watson followed up with his second try which Vunipola improved.
Warriors continued to look threatening in attack and were awarded a penalty try when Saracens Elliott Obatoyinbo was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on. Obatoyinbo was yellow-careded immediately and the referee used the water break to study replays before deciding the full-back’s actions denied Warriors a certain try.
Warriors scored again just before Obatoyinbo returned to the fray, this time Heward setting up Hougaard with a lovely kick through which was superbly controlled by the scrum-half who secured the bonus point.
Heward got away again late in the half and found Matt Kvesic in support but the flanker lost the ball in contact and it was picked up in an offside position.
Saracens turned defence into attack when they kicked the penalty to halfway, won the lineout and worked wing Ali Crossdale free on the left for an unconverted try from his own kick through.
The second half was more disjointed and error-strewn and Warriors were heavily penalised at the breakdown which made it difficult to build momentum.
Saracens also pulled to within a converted try of taking the lead when Vunipola landed a 65th minute penalty, the first points of the half.
But Warriors soon slammed the door shut with a patient attack which created a gap for Beck who nipped in with Searle adding the extras.
The frenetic pace continued towards the end and Warriors produced their best try of the match when Perry Humphreys, back from an ankle injury, weaved his way up the right and excellent support play saw Hill plough over.
Hill scored Warriors’ first try at Sixways back in September last year and also the last of an unending season that will finally conclude at Sale Sharks on Sunday.
Saracens had the final say with Crossdale crossing with the final play of the match to secure a bonus point.
Wednesday’s scores and scorers:
Exeter Chiefs 19 London Irish 22
For Exeter Chiefs:
Tries: Witty, Devoto, Hendrickson
Cons: Skinner 2
For London Irish:
Tries: Cornish, Rona, Creevy
Cons: Jackson 2
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Facundo Cordero, 13 Tom Hendrickson, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Harvey Skinner, 9 Stu Townsend, 8 Aaron Hinkley, 7 Don Armand (captain), 6 Richard Capstick, 5 Tom Price, 4 Will Witty, 3 Marcus Street, 2 Jack Innard, 1 Billy Keast.
Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 James Kenny, 18 Alfie Petch, 19 Dave Dennis, 20 Charlie Wright, 21 Sam Maunder, 22 Jack Walsh, 23 Corey Baldwin.
London Irish: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Ben Loader, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Phil Cokanasiga, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ben Meehan, 8 Albert Tuisue, 7 Ben Donnell, 6 Matt Rogerson (captain), 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 4 George Nott, 3 Ollie Hoskins, 2 Matt Cornish, 1 Harry Elrington.
Replacements: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Will Goodrick-Clarke, 18 Lovejoy Chawatama, 19 Chunya Munga, 20 Jack Cooke, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Theo Brophy Clews, 23 James Stokes.
Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant referees: Adam Leal & Gareth Holsgrove
TMO: Luke Pearce
Bristol Bears 40 Leicester Tigers 3
For Bristol Bears:
Tries: Lloyd, Hughes, Byrne, Thomas, Thacker, Penalty try
Cons: Sheedy 4
For Leicester Tigers:
Yellow Cards: Ben White (Leicester Tigers, 35), Harry Simmon (Leicester Tigers, 81)
Bristol Bears: 15 Ioan Lloyd, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Piers O’Conor, 12 Sam Bedlow, 11 Alapati Leiua, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Andy Uren, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Dan Thomas, 6 Steven Luatua (captain), 5 Joe Joyce, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Bryan Byrne, 1 Yann Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Harry Thacker, 17 Max Lahiff, 18 Jake Woolmore, 19 Ed Holmes, 20 Jake Heenan, 21 Harry Randall, 22 Harry Ascherl, 23 Semi Radradra.
Leicester Tigers: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Harry Potter, 13 Dan Kelly, 12 George Worth, 11 Harry Simmons, 10 Zack Henry, 9 Ben White, 8 Thom Smith (captain), 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Ollie Chessum, 5 Blake Enever, 4 Cameron Henderson, 3 Joe Heyes, 2 Jake Kerr, 1 Facundo Gigena.
Replacements: 16 Shalva Mamukashvili, 17 Ryan Bower, 18 Nephi Leatigaga, 19 Sam Lewis, 20 Jordan Coghlan, 21 Jack Van Poortvliet, 22 Johnny McPhillips, 23 David Williams.
Referee: Christophe Ridley
Assistant referees: Tom Foley & Paul Dix
TMO: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Worcester Warriors 40 Saracens 27
For Worcester Warriors:
Tries: Hougaard 2, Heward, Beck, Hill, Penalty Try.
Cons: Seale 4
Tries: Watson 2, Crossdale 2
Cons: Vunipola 2
Yellow card: Elliot Obatoyinbo 2 (Saracens, 21 and 46)
Worcester Warriors: 15 Melani Nanai, 14 Perry Humphreys, 13 Ollie Lawrence, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Noah Heward, 10 Billy Searle, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Cornell du Preez, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Ted Hill (captain), 5 Justin Clegg, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Niall Annett, 1 Ethan Waller.
Replacements: 16 Beck Cutting, 17 Callum Black, 18 Richard Palframan, 19 Joe Batley, 20 Marco Mama, 21 Gareth Simpson, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Chris Pennell.
Saracens: 15 Will Hooley, 14 Rotimi Segun, 13 Charlie Watson, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Ali Crossdale, 10 Manu Vunipola, 9 Tom Whiteley, 8 Janco Venter, 7 Ollie Stonham, 6 Callum Hunter-Hill, 5 Cameron Boon, 4 Joel Kpoku, 3 Alec Clarey, 2 Tom Woolstencroft, 1 Richard Barrington.
Replacements: 16 Sam Crean, 17 Robin Hislop, 18 Josh Ibuanokpe, 19 Jon Kpoku, 20 Ethan Benson, 21 Alex Day, 22 Harry Sloan, 23 Elliott Obatoyinbo.
Referee: Karl Dickson
Assistant referees: Greg Macdonald & TBC
TMO: Sara Cox
Source: @WorcesterWarriors & @PremRugby