Worcester crashed out of the European Challenge Cup after squandering a 27-12 lead to go down 33-27 to Castres at Sixways.
It means the French club finish top of Pool One and are joined in the quarter-finals by Dragons, who ended their round-robin campaign with a 47-5 rout of struggling Russian outfit Enisei-STM at Rodney Parade.
The Warriors went into the game knowing a bonus-point win would guarantee them passage into the last eight and it looked a straightforward task when first-half tries from full-back Jamie Shillcock and flanker Marco Mama helped them to a 20-12 interval lead.
Continue reading below…
And they appeared to be home and dry when scrum-half Michael Heaney scored a third try early in the second and Duncan Weir kicked his fifth goal.
Castres scored first-half tries through scrum-half Rory Kockott and prop Wilfrid Hounkpatin and a breakaway try from Kockott after the break kept them in touch.
The turning point came when Worcester were reduced to 14 men with the sin-binning of Gerrit-Jan Van Velze and the French side took full advantage.
It's been quite a while since the Fijian was last spotted in the Warriors colourshttps://t.co/kkTjQMajGi
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) January 17, 2020
Baptiste Delaporte went over for their fourth try which secured the bonus point but the visitors were not finished and France international Kockott completed his hat-trick to seal the comeback win.
Dragons needed nothing less than a five-point win over the Russians to keep alive their qualification hopes and in the end they ran in seven tries through Ross Moriarty, Jared Rosser, Harri Keddie, Tyler Morgan, Adam Warren (two) and Aaron Wainwright.
The Russians’ only try came from former South Africa winger Bjorn Basson as they trailed 14-5 at half-time.
Fly-half Sam Davies converted six of the seven tries.
– Press Association
In other news:
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now