Worcester down London Irish for fourth win

Niall Annett of Worcester makes a break

Worcester Warriors beat London Irish 12-6 to earn a fourth consecutive Aviva Premiership victory for the first time in their history.

Worcester had already beaten Newcastle, Gloucester and Harlequins in the run up to the match and they have now almost certainly sealed their Premiership survival.

If the word ‘classic’ is banded about too often in sport, it’s very unlikely that this game will be classed as one.

Four kicks from Heathcote were enough for Worcester, who have won four Premiership games in a row for the first time in their history.

It was a really slow start by two sides who really cancelled each other out for the entire 80 minutes.

Worcester were probably the better side in the opening exchanges and found themselves a metre from the try line on 11 minutes after Niall Annett made good yards.

But after five minutes of mounting pressure, the referee blew for an Irish penalty and that push was halted.

The first points eventually came just before the half hour mark, with Heathcote safely dispatching his penalty through for a three point advantage.

The crowd were treated again minutes later with another penalty for the hosts, Heathcote again slotting through to make it 6-0.

That’s the way the half finished, and an expected tight encounter was exactly what the first 40 delivered.

Irish did pressure the Worcester line in the remaining couple of minutes, but after kicking to the corner conceded possession of the ball.

Irish started the second half brightly and but for a miscommunication in attack would have had a run at the line after breaking quickly from a defensive position.

They got even closer five minutes after that, with most of the Sixways crowd expecting the first try of the night.

Greig Tonks kick to the corner caused havoc, but Irish couldn’t get the extra yards and conceded a penalty as the attack broke apart.

Heathcote continued his 100 percent record in front of the posts, firing perfectly through to take Worcester into a nine point lead and putting them well on the way to four Premiership wins on the bounce, the first time they have achieved such a feat.

Exiles couldn’t keep up the momentum they had built at the second half, but they were thrown a lifeline with ten minutes left.

Tonks, who had waited patiently for his first kick, narrowed the gap between the sides to six points and set up a far more interesting last ten minutes.

But after a penalty advantage came to nothing, play was brought back for Heathcote to make it four from four.

That’s exactly what he did, calming the nerves around the stadium and continuing Worcester’s fine form.

Another Tonks kick did hint that Exiles may have time for a comeback, but Warriors saw the game out.

Final Score Worcester 12 (6) London Irish 6 (0)

Scorers

Worcester
Tries –
Pen – Heathcote (4)
Con –
Drop –

London Irish
Tries –
Pen – Tonks (2)
Con –
Drop –

Match Officials
Referee :Greg Garner (95th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Robin Goodliffe & Jonathan Healy.
TMO: Sean Davey.

Teams

Warriors

15 Chris Pennell , 14 Bryce Heem , 13 Wynand Olivier , 12 Ryan Mills , 11 Cooper Vuna , 10 Tom Heathcote , 9 Francois Hougaard , 1 Val Rapava Ruskin , 2 Niall Annett , 3 Nick Schonert , 4 Donncha O’Callaghan , 5 Darren Barry , 6 Phil Dowson , 7 Carl Kirwan , 8 GJ van Velze

Replacements : 16 Jaba Bregvadze , 17 Na’ama Leleimalefaga , 18 James Johnston , 19 Dan Sanderson , 20 Matt Cox , 21 Luke Baldwin , 22 Ryan Lamb , 23 Alex Grove.

London Irish

15 Sean Maitland, 14 Alex Lewington, 13 Ciaran Hearn, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Topsy Ojo, 10 Greig Tonks, 9 Scott Steele, 1 Tom Court, 2 Tom Cruse, 3 Halani Aulika, 4 Elliott Stooke, 5 Matt Symons, 6 Luke Narraway (c), 7 Blair Cowan, 8 Rob McCusker

Replacements: 16 David Paice, 17 Tom Smallbone, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Jerry Sexton, 20 Ofisa Treviranus, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Theo Brophy Clews, 23 Fergus Mulchrone

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