Worcester director of rugby Alan Solomons said it was vital that his side got off to a winning start and they produced just that by defeating Leicester 24-16 in a poor Gallagher Premiership game at Sixways.
Worcester’s tries came from Ted Hil and Perry Humphreys with Duncan Weir kicking four penalties and a conversion. Leicester responded with a try from Tom Youngs with Tom Hardwick, a late replacement for the sick Kyle Eastmond, adding three penalties and a conversion.
Hardwick missed with a penalty and conversion and fellow centre EW Viljoen failed with a long-distance penalty, which ultimately ensured Tigers came away with nothing. Solomons said: “If you start the Premiership with a home game, it’s important you come away with the win.
“The players were a bit nervous as they knew there was a lot riding on it but we gave away penalties at key moments, which was a big factor in the game. It was a very tight affair but fortunately we came out on the right side of it. Leicester were without a number of key players so we have to put the win in perspective but we knew it would be tough as they have good strength in depth.”
Weir was Worcester’s hero as he stepped up to succeed with two late penalties, one an effort from near halfway, to ensure victory. Solomons said: “The message went out to kick the goal as I believed it was just within Duncan’s range. His boot was invaluable but the game wasn’t won until that last-minute penalty went over.”
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Leicester’s head coach Geordan Murphy considered Worcester to be deserved winners. He said: “After 65 minutes, it was ours to win but we missed a couple of crucial goal-kicks, which always proves costly in the Premiership, but we were still second best on the day.
“We were some way off our performances in pre-season as the intensity wasn’t there and we were nervous and really sloppy. We were sharp at times and a bit better defensively but individual errors hurt us and they were the more accurate.”
‘I love this time of year because it's a bit like the New Year after Christmas for a lot of people. It’s a fresh slate and a clean start’
– @chris_pennell tells @heagneyl that @WorcsWarriors are feeling very optimistic ahead of the new @premrugby season https://t.co/3It5PBbmME
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 16, 2019
The match itself was a litany of errors and lost possession which culminated in a try-less second half with four penalties, the only addition to the half-time score. Murphy added: “It was a really strange game and not pleasing to watch. It was a turgid affair as everyone seemed a little tense.”
WATCH: Former Australian international Matt Giteau sits down with RugbyPass in the latest episode of Rugby World Cup Memories
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