Northampton 37 Worcester 31: Fightback falls short as hosts stay unbeaten
16:49 GMT, 22 September 2012
Two tries from Luther Burrell saw
Northampton power to four wins out of four, but Worcester stormed back
to collect two points with four tries in a barely believable last 16
Tries from Vasily Artemyev, Courtney Lawes and Mike Haywood saw Northampton secure the five points with less than an hour gone.
They then took their foot off the gas as Worcester ran in four tries in the final quarter to grab a very unlikely losing bonus.
Saints alive: Luther Burrell breaks through to score a second try
NORTHAMPTON: Tonga'uiha, Hartley, Doran-Jones, Manoa, Day, Lawes, Dowson, Oakley, Dickinson, Myler, Artemiev, Burrell, G Pisi, K Pisi, Wilson. Replacements: Haywood, Waller, Mujati, Sorenson, Wood, Glynn, Lamb, Waldouck.
Tries: Burrell 19, 24, Artemiev 30, Lawes 49, Haywood 60.
Conversions: Myler 19, 24, 49
Penalties: Myler 6, 11
WORCESTER: Mullan, Lutui, Andress, Percival, Schofield, Chris, Betty, Taulava, Perry, Goode, Lemi, Carlisle, Grove, Walker, Pennell. Replacements: Hayes, Jonesd, Currie, Gilles, Kvesic, Arr, Matavesi, Drauniniu.
Tries: Arr 64, Matavesi 66, Drauninui 74, Hayes 79.
Conversions: Goode 64, 66, 74, 79
Penalties: Goode 4
The home side showed their forward power in the maul early on, driving a penalty out of Worcester's pack and then stopping the Warriors' own effort at a lineout drive on their line.
Stephen Myler landed that penalty after Andy Goode had opened the scoring with three points on four minutes, and the Saints fly-half added a second penalty before Burrell opened the try-scoring with two in four minutes.
He had already shown some neat footwork before his first try on 20 minutes when he blitzed round the outside of flanker Chris Jones to run home from 25 metres.
His third in two home games saw Burrell step around the outside of centre Alex Grove.
best try was yet to come. Number eight Rhys Oakley broke off a scrum on
halfway and offloaded to Phil Dowson, who delivered a beautiful reverse
pass for Artemyev to finish off from 20 metres.
Worcester turned down the chance of three points to go for five, but
their handling was a constant let down and they went into the break 25-3
Goode life: Worcester's Andy Goode sets a move flowing
Northampton wrapped up the bonus point nine minutes into the second half with Lawes, starting his first game since February 18, being sent over by the irrepressible Lee Dickson.
Burrell missed out on a hat-trick
when he decided to cut inside and slipped with the line at his mercy
before Ken Pisi dropped the ball on the line.
However, replacement hooker Mike Haywood eventually burrowed over for the fifth.
Catch me if you can: James Wilson on the run from the Warriors' defence
Myler missed a second conversion before being replaced as Northampton emptied their bench and their heads, with Ryan Lamb particularly poor.
Worcester took advantage of the home side switching off to run in two tries in two minutes from Jonny Arr and Josh Matavesi.
Arr attack warning: Worcester's Jonny Arr passes the ball from the scrum
The Worcester bench had a huge impact, scoring all four tries with Josh Drauniniu sweeping over and then James Currie winning a crucial turnover for the Warriors to storm up field, win a penalty and see Ollie Hayes squirm over from the lineout.
More drama followed with Goode allowed to retake his missed conversion because Northampton charged too early and he landed it second time round to secure a losing bonus point with the last kick of the game.
As Worcester celebrated wildly it was hard to tell who had won.