Wasps edge Worcester Warriors
PREMIERSHIP REPORT: Wasps edged Worcester Warriors 17-13 in their Premiership Round Nine match at Sixways on Sunday.
Warriors dominated long periods of that first half but had only a penalty from Jamie Shillcock to show for their efforts while Wasps made the most of their limited attacking opportunities.
But Warriors rolled up their sleeves in the second half and had Wasps rattled with a dominant scrum – with the replacement front rows all making their presence felt – and some powerful ball carrying.
Nick David’s try, after he and Michael Heaney had kicked ahead, came shortly after Wasps had opened up a 14-points lead, and produced a nail-biting final quarter.
Jamie Shillcock, who had an assured game at flyhalf, reduced the deficit to four points with a penalty 12 minutes from time but the key moment came seven minutes later when Wasps held up a driving line-out after Shillcock had kicked a penalty to the corner.
Steady rain and numbing cold made for miserable conditions and largely shaped the match with both sides making plenty of unforced errors.
Warriors drew first blood when Shillcock landed a penalty which rewarded a period of sustained pressure but it could easily have been more.
Shillcock had found Perry Humphreys with an inch-perfect crossfield kick. Humphreys was unable to hold on but appeared to be nudged by a Wasps defender before he got to the ball.
The lead lasted only four minutes as Wasps kicked a penalty to touch on the 22, won the line-out and launched a series of pick-and-go attacks which led to James Gaskell going over near the posts.
Shillcock continued to put Warriors into promising positions with some astute tactical kicking and he came close to reducing the deficit when a long-range penalty attempt from halfway smacked against the right post and bounced out.
Instead Wasps increased their advantage just before the break when No.8 Tom Willis stepped out of two tackles and crossed for a try that came from nothing.
Jimmy Gopperth levered over the conversion from the touchline to give a half-time scoreline that did not reflect possession or territory during the first period.
Warriors continued to press in the second half but it was Charlie Atkinson, Wasps’ flyhalf, who scored the next points with a 59th minute penalty.
The rest of the game was dominated by Warriors who were given a huge lift when David wriggled free on the left, threaded a grubber kick through the advancing defence and was on hand to dot down after the pacy Heaney toe-poked the ball on.
But, despite further pressure, Wasps held on , grimly at times, to edge a tight contest.
Pens: Shillcock 2
Tries: Gaskell, Willis
Cons: Gopperth 2
Worcester: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Perry Humphreys, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Nick David, 10 Jamie Shillcock, 9 Gareth Simpson, 8 Cornell du Preez, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Ted Hill (captain), 5 Justin Clegg, 4 Graham Kitchener, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Isaac Miller, 1 Ethan Waller.
Replacements: 16 Beck Cutting, 17 Marc Thomas, 18 Richard Palframan, 19 Andrew Kitchener, 20 GJ van Velze, 21 Michael Heaney, 22 Fin Smith, 23 Oli Morris.
Wasps: 15 Matteo Minozzi, 14 Zach Kibirige, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Jimmy Gopperth, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Charlie Atkinson, 9 Sam Wolstenholme, 8 Tom Willis, 7 Ben Morris, 6 Brad Shields (captain), 5 James Gaskell, 4 Levi Douglas, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Tom West.
Replacements: 16 Tom Cruse, 17 Ben Harris, 18 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 19 Theo Vukasinovic, 20 Sione Vailanu, 21 Ben Vellacott, 22 Jacob Umaga, 23 Michael Le Bourgeois.
Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant referees: Dean Richards & Sara Cox.
TMO: Claire Hodnett