Ravai Fatiaki of Worcester tackles Harlequins winger Tom Williams
20 September 2013, 09:54 pm ::
By Ric Sumner
Worcester Warriors 13 Harlequins 37
Harlequins cruised to a 37-13 victory at Sixways scoring four tries in the process and condemning Dean Ryan's Worcester Warriors to a third consecutive Aviva Premiership defeat of the season.
The damage was done either side of half-time when Danny Care, Joe Marler, Rob Buchanan and Mike Brown all touched down to secure Quins' biggest league victory for a year.
Worcester made life hard for themselves with yellow cards for Jake Abbott, Ed Shervington and Josh Matavesi, the often 14-man defence unable to cope with Quins' offloading game.
Warriors won an early penalty when Ignacio Mieres stuck up the Garryowen and Marler deliberately stuck out a leg to prevent him breaking through, giving the Argentine fly-half a shot at goal that he dispatched with ease.
A dinked chip in behind the Worcester defence from fly-half Nick Evans almost bounced kindly for Ugo Monye, but Warriors full-back Chris Pennell did well to tidy up under pressure.
Shortly after a break through the middle from Tom Williams saw the winger offload to Chris Robshaw but the support wasn't there and the Quins skipper was pinged for holding onto the ball in the tackle.
Despite their lead Worcester were struggling to get out of their own half and they turned the ball over deep in their own 22 when Quins second row George Robson dived on a loose ball and the Warriors were penalised for going offside. Evans made short work of the penalty from in front of the posts and the scores were level at 3-3 on 13 minutes.
Another lovely offload from No.8 Nick Easter found Evans who was pulled down in full flight, with Quins moving the ball left to Maurie Fa'asavalu who was stopped two metres short of the line.
Worcester were again pinged for going offside and Evans sent the resulting penalty narrowly inside the left upright to put the visitors ahead for the first time.
Abbott saw yellow for not rolling away from the tackle as Worcester defended desperately, with Quins opting for a five-metre attacking scrum instead of a kick at the posts.
Worcester then won an attacking lineout in the Quins 22 and from the resulting maul Tom Guest was penalised for not rolling away and totally against the run of play, Mieres bisected the posts.
The score seemed to galvanise the Warriors and from their first attack of any note Josh Drauniniu was driven into touch on the right in a dangerous position.
But finally the Worcester defence was breached after a delightful hidden pass from Buchanan to Robshaw, whose offload sent Care clear to sprint in under the posts on the half hour. Evans dispatched the extras with ease as Worcester prepared to welcome Abbott back from the bin.
Worcester were lucky not to lose another man to the sidelines straight away as they were again penalised on their own try line, with Quins this time going for an attacking lineout.
From the next attack however, Shervington was shown yellow for tackling the man without the ball and Worcester were again a man light in defence and from the lineout Marler spotted a gap and plunged over the line to the left of the posts.
Evans kicked the conversion and Worcester found themselves staring at a 14-point deficit heading towards the interval.
It was one-way traffic again after the break, with Worcester having no answer to Harlequins' power at the breakdown and slick handling in the loose.
From an attacking position Harlequins moved the ball wide to the left where a lovely flick pass from full-back Brown set up prop Buchanan to touch down in the corner, Evans adding the conversion.
Matavesi then got himself ten minutes on the sidelines for a shoulder challenge on Robshaw in the Worcester 22 and Quins immediately took advantage of the extra man, working the ball left to Brown who was adjudged to have got the ball down after a long break in play.
Evans piled on the misery for Warriors with the conversion as the home side stared down the barrel of a third consecutive Aviva Premiership defeat at the start of the season.
Harlequins lost replacement prop Mark Lambert to the bin after he was penalised for offside, and Jonathan Thomas then looked to have finally broken through the Harlequins defence only for incredible defence on the line from replacement scrum-half Karl Dixon to prevent him touching down.
But from the following scrum Quins were penalised and Wayne Barnes trotted under the posts to award Worcester a try that Mieres converted for a consolation score.
But despite their improved play in the final quarter of the game, there was no doubting the winner and Quins held on to secure the victory with Ben Botica rounding off the scoring with a late penalty.