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Try tiebreaker rule wins the Premiership Cup for Worcester

By PA
(Photo by PA)

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London Irish could not celebrate teenagers Henry Arundell and Will Joseph gaining England call-ups with silverware as Worcester lifted the Premiership Rugby Cup in dramatic fashion. The final finished 25-25 after extra-time, but Worcester won their first top-flight trophy after outscoring their opponents 3-1 on tries at Brentford Community Stadium.

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Just hours after England boss Eddie Jones named them in a 36-man training squad, Arundell and Joseph targeted more success. But Irish fly-half Paddy Jackson, who kicked 20 points from six penalties and a conversion, missed four penalties during 20 minutes of extra-time.

Jackson converted scrum-half Ben White’s try, yet Worcester replied with tries for flanker Matt Kvesic and wing Perry Humphreys before Kyle Hatherell’s try five minutes into stoppage time, converted by Fin Smith, tied things up. Smith earlier kicked two penalties and a conversion, and the Irish were the team that ultimately cracked during two scoreless additional periods.

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Jackson and Smith exchanged early penalties before Worcester struck with the game’s opening try after twelve minutes. Irish looked to have thwarted any danger, but Kvesic emerged with the ball from a ruck and sprinted 20 metres unopposed to touch down, with Smith’s conversion opening up a seven-point lead.

Smith’s second successful penalty completed an impressive opening quarter from the Warriors and the Irish were in need of a response. The Exiles duly delivered as a second Jackson penalty was followed by a flowing attack receiving the finish it deserved when White darted clear following impressive work by wing Lucio Cinti.

Jackson’s conversion tied the final seven minutes before half-time and he then completed his penalty hat-trick to edge Irish ahead. But Worcester refused to be subdued and they scored a second try with the final move of an entertaining first half as Humphreys crossed, making it 18-16 at the interval.

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The Warriors thought they had moved further ahead just three minutes after the restart when skipper Ted Hill broke clear from 60 metres out and crossed Irish’s line, but it was disallowed following a knock-on by Worcester centre Francois Venter. Jackson rubbed salt into Worcester’s wounds by booting another penalty and he then repeated the feat ten minutes later, leaving the Warriors four points adrift.

Worcester’s poor discipline – they were marched back ten metres for dissent on four separate occasions by referee Wayne Barnes – gave Jackson another penalty chance and he duly accepted it. Worcester threw everything at Irish during the closing minutes that required some frantic defence and Hatherell’s score, converted by Smith, meant an extra 20 minutes.

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