Worcester blew a huge hole in Harlequins’ Gallagher Premiership play-off hopes by posting an impressive 29-14 victory at Sixways. The Warriors forwards were in unstoppable form, with Worcester scoring three first-half tries direct from driving mauls to underpin a first Premiership win of 2020.
No8 Cornell du Preez, centre Ollie Lawrence and hooker Niall Annett all touched down before scrum-half Francois Hougaard’s 39th-minute score secured a bonus-point and Duncan Weir kicked three conversions before adding a second-half penalty.
Rudderless Quins, eleven points adrift of the play-offs before kick-off, trailed 26-0 at the break, and there was no way back as Worcester comfortably ended a run of eight successive Premiership defeats.
Wing Chris Ashton and substitute hooker Elia Elia claimed consolation tries for Quins, with James Lang adding both conversions, but Worcester were already over the horizon.
It was one of the Warriors’ most emphatic league victories in recent seasons, underlining a dreadful Quins display on a night when they sorely missed rested stars like Mike Brown, Joe Marler and Chris Robshaw.
Big step forward for English rugby fans https://t.co/O1F7bmOxKm
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) August 26, 2020
Worcester boss Alan Solomons made ten changes from the side beaten by Wasps last time out, including a return for captain Ted Hill, while Quins were led by No8 Tom Lawday and included scrum-half Danny Care on the bench following his recovery from a back injury.
Despite their long run of league losses, Worcester did not lack confidence and they rocked Quins through a powerful start. Weir missed a second-minute penalty chance, but the Warriors struck from their first attack, relentlessly driving a lineout and du Preez pounced for a try that Weir converted.
Quins were pinned deep inside their own half and they fell further behind in the twelfth minute after another mighty Worcester drive, this time joined by some of the backs, and Lawrence touched down.
Quins needed to regroup after a miserable opening, but Worcester were organised and tactically efficient as they comfortably preserved their healthy advantage. The visitors struggled alarmingly in scrum and lineout and Worcester just kept repeating Quins’ punishment.
Worcester’s third try from a driving maul arrived twelve minutes before the break, with Annett the latest beneficiary before Weir’s conversion opened up a 19-0 lead. And there was still time before the interval for Quins to suffer more misery.
Inevitably, Worcester drove another short-range lineout, Quins struggled to defend it and Hougaard darted clear to claim a bonus-point try. Weir’s conversion saw Worcester lead by 26 points at the break and Quins had a mountain of Everest proportions to climb.
Weir added a penalty early in the second period before Quins worked a try for Ashton – the 87th of his Premiership career – that Lang converted. There was more purpose and energy about Quins in the second-half, lifted by Care joining the action, although their forwards continued to endure a torrid time.
It was a defeat that renders the play-offs a distant prospect and even a top-six place, on this evidence, could prove beyond the Londoners.
'If you had said to me in that moment I would play until I was 35 I would have called you an idiot'
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) July 26, 2020
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