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Northampton 37 Worcester 31: Fightback falls short as hosts stay unbeaten

Northampton 37 Worcester 31: Fightback falls short as hosts stay unbeaten

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UPDATED:

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
minutes.

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

Saints alive: Luther Burrell breaks through to score a second try

Match facts

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

Att: 12,114

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.

Northampton's
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.

Twice
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
down.

Goode life: Worcester's Andy Goode sets a move flowing

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

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

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.

Worcester 16 Gloucester 16

Worcester 16 Gloucester 16: Burns rides to rescue to deny hosts first win of season

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UPDATED:

15:01 GMT, 15 September 2012

Substitute Freddie Burns denied Worcester their first win of the Aviva Premiership season with a dramatic penalty strike six minutes into injury time at Sixways.

Andy Goode looked to have secured victory for the Warriors just two minutes earlier after Gloucester skipper Jim Hamilton recklessly pushed Worcester lock James Percival at a lineout.

But Worcester could not hold on, and Burns struck with the final kick of an otherwise dire contest to secure a draw.

Charging through: Gloucester's Jonny May is tackled by Worcester Warriors' Chris Pennell and Shaun Perry

Charging through: Gloucester's Jonny May is tackled by Worcester Warriors' Chris Pennell and Shaun Perry

Gloucester centre Henry Trinder and Worcester replacement prop James Currie scored second-half tries, while Goode slotted two penalties and his team-mate Joe Carlisle a penalty and conversion.

Burns, who went on in the second period, slotted a penalty and conversion from his two kicks at goal and there was a penalty double from Billy Twelvetrees, but neither side covered themselves in glory.

Conditions were ideal for a free-flowing spectacle, yet both teams' repeated failure to master basic handling skills helped render the game largely a non-event.

Scotland wing Nikki Walker made his Worcester debut after moving to Sixways from the Ospreys earlier this year, while there were first Gloucester starts for wing Shane Monahan – who replaced an injured

Charlie Sharples – and Australian hooker Huia Edmonds.

Step aside: Worcester's James Percival evades a tackle from Gloucester's Nick Wood

Step aside: Worcester's James Percival evades a tackle from Gloucester's Nick Wood

Twelvetrees found his range inside the opening two minutes, landing a 50-metre penalty that served notice to the Warriors he meant business.

Goode slotted an equalising strike 10 minutes later, although only after he required lengthy treatment following a crunching tackle by Gloucester scrum-half Dan Robson.

Despite a perfect playing surface, both sides struggled to string together meaningful attacking phases and Gloucester regained the lead through another Twelvetrees penalty.

Goode, who stayed on in an attempt to run off his knock, missed two penalties but Worcester should have scored from their first notable attack.

Former England forward Chris Jones shrugged off a couple of weak Gloucester challenges to power towards the line, yet visiting full-back Jonny May executed a stunning tackle that ensured Gloucester retained their lead.

The Warriors attempted to free Samoan wing speedster David Lemi at every opportunity, and although Gloucester marshalled him well, Worcester looked a more threatening attacking unit.

Taken down: Worcester Warriors' Andy Goode is tackled by Gloucester's Dan Robson

Taken down: Worcester Warriors' Andy Goode is tackled by Gloucester's Dan Robson

But Goode did not help his team's cause when he was sin-binned after taking out Trinder off the ball, and the visitors piled on pressure as half-time approached.

Wing James Simpson-Daniel was guilty of a woeful blunder when he failed to gather possession with Worcester's line at his mercy, yet 14-man Worcester somehow held out under intense pressure, trooping off just three points adrift.

Carlisle took over kicking duties while Goode served his 10-minute spell on the sidelines, and an angled penalty success made it 6-6 in a game that badly needed some inspiration.

Gloucester boss Nigel Davies made his first substitutions just 13 minutes into the second period, one of which included Burns replacing Mike Tindall and Twelvetrees reverting to his more familiar inside centre position.

Burns, who scored 39 points in Gloucester's opening two league games against Northampton and London Irish, looked to make an immediate impression on the contest.

Eyes on the ball: Joe Carlisle and Sam Betty of Worcester Warriors tangle with Ben Morgan

Eyes on the ball: Joe Carlisle and Sam Betty of Worcester Warriors tangle with Ben Morgan

He mixed his kicking game well but errors abounded around him until Gloucester struck with the game's first try 14 minutes from time.
Monahan made it possible through a powerful touchline burst and, as Worcester defenders desperately scrambled back, the ex-Rotherham player's well-timed pass sent Trinder sprinting over.

Burns converted but Worcester stirred to set up a gripping finale the game hardly deserved when Currie ploughed over for a try that Carlisle improved.

Gloucester found themselves stretched defensively for the first time and Worcester entered the final five minutes pushing hard to turn territorial dominance into points.

The victory they coveted looked to have arrived deep into injury time when Goode kept his nerve under intense pressure, but then Warriors' front-row infringed and Burns made it 16-16 with the game's final kick.

Worcester 19 Newcastle 9: Falcons edge closer to relegation

Worcester 19 Newcastle 9: Falcons edge closer to relegation

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UPDATED:

22:52 GMT, 23 March 2012

Worcester nudged Aviva Premiership relegation favourites Newcastle closer to the trap-door after winning a dour struggle at Sixways.

Centre Alex Grove's second-half try secured the victory for Worcester, leaving bottom club Newcastle still eight points adrift with just four league games left.

Jimmy Gopperth kicked three penalties for the visitors, which was enough to secure a 9-6 advantage approaching the hour mark, but Scotland international Grove then rounded off a spell of sustained pressure and the Falcons were finished.

Doomed: Worcester were too strong for relegation favourites Newcastle

Doomed: Worcester were too strong for relegation favourites Newcastle

Match facts

Worcester: Tries: Grove. Cons: Goode. Pens: Goode 4.

Worcester: Pennell, Garvey, Grove, Rasmussen, Benjamin, Goode,
Perry, Mullan, Lutui, Taumoepeau, Percival, C. Jones, Betty, Abbott, Horstmann.

Replacements: Arr for Perry (66), Shervington for Lutui (73),
Cowan for Abbott (20).

Not Used: C. Jones, Douglas, Gillies, Gray, Fatiaki.

Newcastle: Pens: Gopperth 3.

Newcastle: Manning, Uys, Helleur, Fitzpatrick, A. Tait, Gopperth, Stringer, Golding, Thompson, Murray, Swinson, Goode, Tu'ifua, Welch, Hogg.

Replacements: Goosen for Manning (75), Sheriffe for Uys (70),
Shiells for Golding (66), Graham for Thompson (64), Fondse for Goode (70), Wilson for Tu'ifua (73).

Not used: Wells, Chudley.

Attendance: 11,202

Referee: Sean Davey (RFU).

Gopperth's opposite number Andy Goode booted 14 points via four penalties and a conversion, his final strike denying Newcastle the consolation of a losing bonus after their hopes of a first league away triumph since February last year had already vanished.

Eleventh-placed Wasps, who host Newcastle on the regular league season's final day in early May, are not expected to gain anything from their trip to title play-off contenders Northampton on Saturday.

But Newcastle's latest defeat – their 13th from 18 Premiership starts this term – has upped the ante for remaining fixtures at home to Sale Sharks and Saracens and away against Gloucester and Wasps.

Rugby director Gary Gold, who will make way for Dean Richards next season, could not fault the effort or commitment of his players, yet Falcons lacked sufficient attacking flair or invention to seriously threaten scoring a try.

Newcastle gave loan signing Peter Stringer his Falcons debut, the Ireland international scrum-half having arrived at Kingston Park after completing a similar short-term stint with league champions Saracens.

Worcester, meanwhile, welcomed back wing Marcel Garvey and number eight Kai Horstmann after injury lay-offs as the Warriors looked to put further distance between themselves and the Premiership danger zone.

The form guide suggested a Warriors win, given they had lost just once at home in all competitions since mid-November, while Newcastle could reflect on a solitary Premiership away victory in almost two years.

Conditions were perfect for an open, running game, yet Newcastle arrived with so much at stake that for them it was all about winning, pure and simple.

Gopperth sent a rushed early drop-goal shot wide of the Worcester posts, but with both sides opting for sustained kicking strategies, clear-cut attacking opportunities were few and far between.

Kicking game: Newcastle rarely threatened to cross Worcester's line

Kicking game: Newcastle rarely threatened to cross Worcester's line

Defences also cancelled each other out, especially in a congested midfield area, yet Newcastle secured enough of a territorial advantage for Gopperth to kick them ahead after 13 minutes.

Neither side could get a grip on the contest, not helped by increasingly wayward and largely pointless kicking that merely gifted possession to the other team.

There was a chronic lack of confidence and imagination displayed in attack, yet Newcastle would have been far happier than their hosts as half-time approached.

Goode landed an equalising penalty just before the interval, but the Falcons finished a dire opening 40 metres with a degree of territorial control and feeling they could probably push on and secure a priceless away triumph.

Referee JP Doyle's half-time whistle could not come soon enough for Worcester, with the Warriors looking a pale shadow of the side that had beaten Saracens and Gloucester at home in the Premiership since Christmas.

Worcester, it is safe to presume, would have received an interval rocket from their head coach Richard Hill, but it was Gopperth who made the first notable contribution after the break.

The prolific marksman found his range from 48 metres to inch Newcastle back in front, although there were signs of Worcester's forwards stirring into life.

And some impressive work by the home pack ended with Newcastle infringing, allowing Goode an easy penalty chance that he accepted to make it 6-6.

Gopperth, though, restored Newcastle's advantage by completing his penalty hat-trick, and when Goode matched his achievement shortly afterwards following a slashing break by Warriors wing Miles Benjamin, the game was tied again entering its final quarter.

Worcester were far more dangerous with ball in hand than they had been in the first half, looking to find Benjamin and Garvey, who enjoyed increasing amounts of room.

And it came as no surprise when Grove crossed 15 minutes from time, his touchdown ending a prolonged spell around Newcastle's 22 that ultimately cracked open Falcons' well-organised defence.

Goode converted and then slotted his fourth penalty just a minute from time, leaving the prospect of Newcastle playing Championship rugby next season looking an increasingly likely one.

Worcester 13 Leicester 32: Flood opens the gates as Tigers extend unbeaten run

Worcester 13 Leicester 32: Flood opens the gates as Tigers extend unbeaten run

England star Toby Flood ran the show as Leicester extended their unbeaten Aviva Premiership run to five games after brushing Worcester aside at a sold-out Sixways.

The Tigers never looked back once they had built a 17-point lead early in the second quarter following tries by Flood and wing Matt Smith.

Fly-half Flood added another 12 points from the boot, while Leicester and England lock Louis Deacon sealed Tigers” victory when he rumbled over for a 60th-minute try after wing Marcel Garvey”s touchdown briefly threatened a Worcester revival.

Driving through: Louis Deacon pushes over to score

Driving through: Louis Deacon pushes over to score

Wing Horacio Agulla then crossed a minute from time to secure a bonus point victory and leave Worcester to reflect on their heaviest league defeat of the season.

Joe Carlisle added two penalties and a conversion for the home side, but they remain only six points and one place above bottom club Newcastle at the league season”s halfway point.

Upwardly mobile Leicester, though, are now lurking just outside the title play-off zone, climbing further away from the Premiership”s lower reaches that they occupied during much of September and October when they had a dozen players on World Cup duty in New Zealand.

The only concerns for Leicester came during the dying minutes when their England centre Manu Tuilagi and his red rose colleague Deacon both limped off, making them doubts ahead of next Sunday”s Welford Road clash against Sale Sharks.

Bonus point win: Tigers wing Horacio Agulla celebrates the final try

Bonus point win: Tigers wing Horacio Agulla celebrates the final try

Deacon, captain in the absence of a rested Geordan Murphy, made his 150th Premiership appearance, while full-back Chris Pennell led a Worcester team seeking its first league victory over Tigers since 2005.

Fit-again Pennell was one of three changes from Warriors” last league outing at Exeter, with prop Matt Mullan also recovering from injury to start and Jake Abbott packing down in the back-row alongside Sam Betty and Chris Jones.

Leicester started at a breakneck pace, leaving Worcester trailing in their wake as they cruised 10-0 ahead after just six minutes.

It was all too easy for the Tigers when Flood effortlessly breached Warriors” defence, sliding through a huge midfield gap to send an unmarked Smith scampering over.

Flood converted and then kicked a penalty from just inside Worcester”s half after his opposite number Carlisle infringed, leaving the Warriors requiring a rapid recovery or be faced with little chance of challenging their heavyweight opponents.

Running the show: Toby Flood was on-song

Running the show: Toby Flood was on-song

Scrum-half Shaun Perry did not help Worcester”s cause, though, retaliating to a challenge from Leicester and England number nine Ben Youngs that resulted in referee J P Doyle reversing a kickable Warriors penalty and Tigers cleared the danger.

And Worcester”s miserable afternoon then deteriorated further when Flood spotted another defensive hole, and this time he finished off himself, touching down for a try that he also converted.

The Warriors were at sixes and sevens, and with almost an hour of the contest still remaining they faced a potentially painful damage-limitation exercise.

Carlisle opened Worcester”s account with a penalty eight minutes before the interval, yet a dismal opening period from the home side”s perspective ended in predictable fashion.

Warriors number eight Jones was sin-binned for an illegal lineout challenge on Leicester flanker Ben Woods, reducing Worcester to 14 men and handing Flood an easy penalty chance that he accepted, making it 20-3 at half-time.

Despite being a player down, Worcester reduced their deficit through a second Carlisle penalty, and when Jones returned to the fray he immediately sparked a try-scoring opportunity.

Worcester,with Jones at the hub, spun possession wide and Garvey squeezed over inthe corner for a try that required television match official confirmation before Doyle awarded it.

Squeezed out: Tom Croft gets to grips with Alex Grove

Squeezed out: Tom Croft gets to grips with Alex Grove

Carlisle kicked the touchline conversion, yet hopes of a full-scale Warriors recovery were soon dashed as Leicester responded ruthlessly.

Flanker Tom Croft almost scored five minutes after Garvey crossed, but then Deacon was bundled over the line from close range, putting daylight between the teams once again.

Worcester prop Oliver Tomaszczyk collected Warriors” second yellow card of the match for a dangerous tackle on Leicester flanker Julian Salvi just before Deacon departed, before Agulla”s try and Flood”s conversion completed Warriors” misery.