Warriors grab Premiership lifeline
March 30, 2014
Gonzalo Tiesi is tackled by Alex Grove and Ravai Fatiaki
© Getty Images
Worcester gave themselves a glimmer of hope in their relegation battle by ending a 22-match Aviva Premiership losing run with a hard-fought 17-12 victory over fellow strugglers Newcastle at Kingston Park.
The Warriors, thanks to a try 10 minutes from time by winger Josh Drauniniu, cut the gap between themselves and the Falcons, who picked up a losing bonus point, to nine points to give themselves a Premiership lifeline. It is more than two years since Worcester won away from home in the Premiership, when they beat Wasps on New Year's Day 2012.
After last week's last-gasp defeat against Wasps, Worcester knew they had to win at foggy Kingston Park. It was a nervy, edgy game of no great quality, which was hardly surprising, and left Newcastle still very much in the relegation mix.
'We got one break and it gave us enough'
Drauninui's try was the difference, with both sides kicking four penalties and locked at 12-12 with the clock running down. It came when Andy Symons brushed off Joel Hodgson's tackle, cut through on a long run and, with Newcastle back-pedalling, Drauninui scored in the corner. There was no way back for Newcastle after that, although they will yet again rue their lack of a cutting edge.
Phil Godman gave the Falcons the perfect start with a penalty in the third minute, but Chris Pennell levelled five minutes later when Newcastle dropped the scrum and then slotted a 50-metre kick in the 12th minute to edge the Warriors in front.
Newcastle had the upper hand up front and destroyed Worcester at the scrum for Godman to level the scores in the 22nd minute. Not for the first time, referee Tim Wigglesworth gave a debatable penalty when he pinged Will Welch for not releasing and there was perhaps some justice when Ryan Lamb missed the kick at goal in the 28th minute.
The hosts opted for the kick to the corner after Worcester took out Fraser McKenzie in the line-out and the drive paid off with another penalty which Godman kicked for the Falcons to lead 9-6 after 35 minutes.
Replacement hooker George McGuigan's line break shortly after half-time was ruined by yet another penalty for not releasing, and another penalty followed in quick succession to allow Lamb to level the scores on 44 minutes.
McGuigan's impact on the game was astonishing as he led a charge to extract another penalty which Godman slotted in the 47th minute to restore Newcastle's three-point lead, but Andy Saul's transgression in the 53rd minute saw Lamb level it again.
Newcastle looked as if they might make the breakthrough when they strung together nine and then 12 phases including a couple of bullocking runs from Sinoti Sinoti, but Worcester's defence was equal to it both times. And that resistance paid off when Symons broke away and Drauniniu scored that crucial try.
Worcester celebrate after Josh Drauniniu scores © Getty Images
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