Nick Evans’ late drop goal ensured reigning Aviva Premiership champions Harlequins emerged from an almighty scare with Worcester Warriors 22-19 winners.
The New Zealand-born fly-half held his nerve on 73 minutes with the scores at 19-19 to avenge last week’s 21-18 defeat against Bath Rugby.
Evans finished with a 17-point haul and played a key part in Matt Hopper’s first-half try that got the hosts back into the contest after a bright start from the Warriors.
Samoan international David Lemi, Worcester’s leading try-scorer, added his fourth of the Premiership season early on and Errie Claassens joined him on the scoresheet but they could not prevent the Warriors slipping to their sixth defeat of the season.
A spilled pass straight from the kick-off by Hopper led to an attacking scrum inside the first minute for Worcester.
The mistake brought an early spell of pressure for the away side, which was utilised when Chris Pennell offloaded to the clinical Lemi in the corner inside three minutes.
Andy Goode, who finished with nine points, missed the conversion but followed up just a few minutes later with a penalty for an 8-0 lead.
Harlequins had their first period of pressure but Maurie Fa’asavalu dropped a pass five metres out following a line out, relieving the pressure for the away side.
On 18 minutes Karl Dickson side-stepped through Worcester’s backline but could only be held by a resilient defence.
The resulting penalty was kicked over by Evans but the away side went straight back up the other end and won a penalty which Goode duly converted.
Lemi was sin-binned for obstructing the ball and a collapsed maul gave Quins a penalty under the posts – Evans pulling the scores back to 11-6 after 26 minutes.
But another error from the wasteful Quins gave Worcester a 31st-minute penalty – Goode converting from a tight angle.
Their industrious forwards finally got their reward four minutes before the break though when Hopper steamed through on to an Evans pass straight under the posts which the latter converted.
And the hosts went in for their half-time team talk 16-14 in front when Evans kicked another penalty – Semisi Taulava sin-binned just minutes after Lemi had rejoined play.
A lull in play in the opening 20 minutes of the second half was only broken by Evans’ penalty on 59 minutes.
But Worcester stormed back through Claassens who finished off in the corner after Alex Grove broke the Quins line in the 68th minute to bring the scores level at 19-19. Goode, crucially, missed the conversion.
Neither side could gain possession with nervy kicks in the middle of the park but a line-out gave Evans space to execute what proved to be the winning drop goal – but the Warriors left the Twickenham Stoop with a losing bonus point.