Warriors left nursing the wounded

Worcester were left fearing the worst after number eight Drew Hickey and his replacement Gavin Quinnell suffered worrying injuries in their EDF Cup Group D win over Newport-Gwent Dragons at Sixways.

With Leicester already having wrapped up progress to the semi-finals from Group D there was only cross-border pride at stake, and the lack of any interest in the tournament did not dull either side’s competitive edge.

That may well have been down to the fact that hosts and visitors were without a glut of front-line troops but therefore full of players desperate to push for regular first-team places.

Worcester had early problems at the line-out where hooker Chris Fortey was caught dummying his throw-ins by referee Tim Beddow.

The Dragons also had issues in the handling department with USA Eagles fly-half Mike Hercus throwing forward passes that first denied wing Aled Brew a scoring chance then brought Brew’s brother Nathan to a halt in a promising attack.

John Brain’s side had fewer chances in the opening quarter, but with their line-out difficulties behind them, they established a foothold in the Dragons’ 22 and from a scrum worked Tongan flyer Aisea Havili clear on the right for the opening try after 21 minutes. Fly-half James Brown added the angled conversion.

But having lost Hickey with suspected rib damage after 19 minutes, the Warriors then saw his replacement, giant Welshman Quinnell, being stretchered off in great pain from knee damage sustained at a ruck.

Quinnell was followed into the dressing room by his worried father, former Wales and British Lions star Derek, amid concerns of yet another major injury to a player from the English top-flight.

The Dragons tried to breath fire into their efforts by bringing on capped Welsh half-backs Gareth Cooper and Ceri Sweeney 10 minutes after the break, but no sooner had they arrived than Brown put his side 10-0 ahead with his first penalty.

Sweeney kicked his side’s first points five minutes later but the Warriors struck back with a Brown penalty and Havili’s second try.

Another late substitute, Nic Fitisemanu, scored the Dragons only try with four minutes left, but Brown claimed the final score after the Dragons’ afternoon was typified by another back-line blunder.

The home fly-half failed with the conversion, but at least Worcester can look on this contest with some satisfaction as they contemplate their fight for survival in the Guinness Premiership.

The scorers:

For Worcester Warriors:
Tries: Havili 2, Brown
Con: Brown
Pens: Brown 2

For the Dragons:
Try: Fitisemanu
Con: Sweeney
Pen: Sweeney

Worcester Warriors: 15 Lee Best, 14 Aisea Havili, 13 Dale Rasmussen, 12 Thomas Lombard, 11 Mark Tucker, 10 James Brown, 9 Matt Powell, 8 Drew Hickey, 7 Tom Harding, 6 Kai Horstmann (c), 5 Tim Collier, 4 Craig Gillies, 3 Tevita Taumoepeau, 2 Chris Fortey, 1 Darren Morris
Replacements: 16 Ben Gotting, 17 Tony Windo, 18 Will Bowley, 19 Gavin Quinnell, 20 Ryan Powell, 21 Shane Drahm, 22 Miguel Avramovic

Dragons: 15 Gareth Wyatt, 14 Richard Fussell, 13 Nathan Brew, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Aled Brew, 10 Mike Hercus, 9 Alex Walker, 8 Colin Charvis (C), 7 Jamie Ringer, 6 Lewis Evans, 5 Luke Charteris, 4 Andrew Hall, 3 Jamie Corsi, 2 Ben Daly, 1 Adam Black
Replacements: 16 Kieran Crawford, 17 Lee Harrison, 16 Bryn Griffiths, 17 Nic Fitisemanu, 18 Gareth Maule, 19 Ceri Sweeney, 20 Gareth Cooper.

Referee: Tim Beddow (England)
Touch judges: Alan Hughes, Paul Dickens (both England)
Assessor: Ed Morrison (England)
Television match official: Matt Peters (England)

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