Hougaard makes Bok statement in Warriors win
PREMIERSHIP REPORT: Francois Hougaard sent Rassie Erasmus a timely reminder of his credentials as he helped Worcester Warriors remain in the top echelon for another season.
Hougaard was one of the star performers for the Warriors, as they beat Gloucester 27-20 at Sixways on Sunday.
The win ensured Worcester have retained their premiership status, while the losing bonus point saw Gloucester reach the play-offs for the first time in eight years.
In a game littered with Springboks that have World Cup ambitions, Darren Barry crashed over for the winning try.
The hosts twice came from behind, with Duncan Weir notching 17 points to seal the all-important victory.
Henry Purdy and Willi Heinz crossed to give the visitors the lead at half time, with Weir pulling one back in between.
Then Niall Annett powered over after the break and Barry sealing the win before Purdy got his second to keep the Cherry and Whites within seven.
Weir slotted the first points of the day after Worcester pressured the visitors’ defence early on, being rewarded with a penalty for an offside offence.
But Gloucester responded, with two slick pull-backs in the back line opening a gap for Purdy to glide through and hold off two tackles to dot down.
Weir nailed another penalty to put the hosts back in front, before finishing off a slick move minutes later.
Perry Humphreys sliced through from 25 meters out and almost went the distance, but Weir picked up from the ruck and nipped in under the posts before converting his own score.
Gloucester pulled three back with a close-range penalty from Twelvetrees, and the centre was key to the next score too.
Bursting through on a crash ball, Twelvetrees offloaded to Cipriani, who popped a no-look pass inside to Mark Atkinson before more quick hands put Heinz under the sticks.
Twelvetrees added the extras on the stroke of half time as Gloucester went in 15-13 ahead at the break.
Worcester came out of the dressing rooms fired up, as Francois Venter came within inches before Annett muscled to the line from a meter out, and Weir converted.
The hosts were rewarded for their constant pressure when Barry crashed over following a looping pass wide from Weir and quality foot control from Ethan Waller on his 50th appearance for Worcester.
But Gloucester hit back instantly, with Charlie Sharples whipping the ball wide to Purdy who dived over for his second.
They kept pushing but it was Worcester’s day as they held off Gloucester to get the crucial win.
For Worcester Warriors:
Tries: Weir, Annett, Barry
Cons: Weir 3
Pens: Weir 2
Tries: Purdy 2, Heinz
Worcester Warriors: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Perry Humphreys, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Ben Te’o, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Cornell Du Preez, 7 Sam Lewis, 6 Marco Mama (captain), 5 Darren Barry, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Niall Annett, 1 Ethan Waller
Replacements: 16 Jack Singleton, 17 Callum Black, 18 Gareth Milasinovich, 19 Michael Fatialofa, 20 Andrew Kitchener, 21 Ted Hill, 22 Michael Heaney, 23 Jono Lance
Gloucester: 15 Matt Banahan; 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Billy Twelvetrees, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Henry Purdy; 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Willi Heinz (captain); 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Jake Polledri, 6 Ruan Ackermann, 5 Franco Mostert; 4 Ed Slater, 3 Gareth Denman; 2 Franco Marais, 1 Val Rapava Ruskin.
Replacements: 16 Mike Sherry, 17 Josh Hohneck, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Tom Savage, 20 Lewis Ludlow, 21 Callum Braley, 22 Lloyd Evans, 23 Jason Woodward
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant referees: Anthony Woodthorpe & Jonathan Healy.
TMO: Graham Hughes.