Worcester suffer 16th successive Premiership defeat despite red card for Wasps' Ben Morris
Wasps overcame the sending off of Ben Morris to battle back and beat Worcester 23-19 in the Gallagher Premiership. The hosts trailed 19-16 when Morris saw red for a dangerous tackle with 13 minutes to go, but Tommy Taylor’s try secured Wasps a win that kept them in contention for a place in next season’s Heineken Champions Cup.
It was Worcester 16th successive league defeat and their 14th in this fixture – but having trailed 13-3 at the interval, they rattled Wasps with a stirring second-half revival and were pressing for victory at the end. Worcester scored first with a Billy Searle penalty after two minutes, but Wasps were ahead soon after as Brad Shields touched down for the game’s first try.
The visitors had to bring on three replacements in the first 30 minutes. Their two props – Ethan Waller, who suffered a head injury tackling Gabriel Oghre, and Richard Palframan, who lasted three minutes before leaving the field holding his arm – were among the casualties while Wasps lost their tighthead prop Biyi Alo after 27 minutes.
The disruptions, heavy rain and two out-of-form teams made for an error-riddled opening half. Wasps dominated territorially, playing for position through their half-backs, but failed to build on their early try. Two Jacob Umaga penalties gave them a 13-3 interval lead but it was a poor reward for their possession and their overwhelming superiority in the scrum. Josh Bassett knocked on over the line as he tried to field a Dan Robson chip and Matt Kvesic twice relieved sieges on Worcester’s line.
The Warriors mounted their first attack in the 40th minute after a Perry Humphreys kick earned a five-metre scrum, but they were penalised for pushing too early. Worcester emerged for the second period armed with intent and purpose, though, and they were ahead within 15 minutes.
'Half my mates who have already retired say, ‘Don’t retire. Do as much as you can because it’s hard on the other side’
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 25, 2021
Searle and Umaga exchanged penalties before Worcester scored a try from a lineout. The England centre Ollie Lawrence, a replacement for the injured Ashley Beck, and his co-centre Francois Venter had caused problems with their running angles and when Niall Annett received the ball after his throw was palmed by Justin Clegg, Venter’s outside line wrong-footed the defence.
Wasps were rattled and their discipline melted. They fell behind to two Searle penalties in two minutes before flanker Morris was sent off for a high tackle on Lawrence. However, it focused their minds and after they had brought on forward Sione Vailanu for back Zach Kibirige, Taylor scored from a driving maul to restore their lead. Worcester finished the match on the attack despite having Sam Lewis sent to the sin-bin, but Wasps held on.
"There are 20 players leaving the club at the end of the season… that has certainly been really tough, some tough conversations"@JonThom82 on the work behind the scenes & the hard calls needed as they rebuild @WorcsWarriors squad, writes @heagneyl ???https://t.co/gjCIa18pmc
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) May 9, 2021
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