England wing Josh Lewsey produced a try-saving tackle in the final minute to deny GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP basement boys Worcester a shock win at Wasps.
Lewsey, a 70th minute replacement, tackled Worcester centre Gary Trueman deep in Wasps’ territory in the dying seconds as the midlands strugglers looked set to score a last-gasp winning try. One-time England fly-half Alex King kicked 14 points, while teenager Danny Cipriani scored Wasps’ all-important only try to keep the home side in the Premiership title race.
Wasps were frustrated in the opening half as stubborn Worcester defence, coupled with a lack of imagination from number 10 King behind the scrum saw the home side trail at the break.
All eyes had been on newly-appointed England skipper Phil Vickery as he returned to the Wasps’ starting XV but the prop and his front-row colleagues suffered scrummaging difficulties and were penalised on three occasions, as Worcester dominated the set pieces early on.
Only quick thinking from Worcester full-back Shane Drahm in the fifth minute stopped Wasps scrum-half Eoin Reddan handing the home side an early lead. Drahm narrowly pipped Reddan to the ball after it was hacked down field by Wasps. Five minutes later Worcester’s Marcel Garvey saw the ball agonisingly bounce dead behind the Wasps posts, with the winger looking the favourite to win his race to the ball.
Worcester opened the scoring in the 15th minute thanks to a well executed Drahm drop kick. Worcester claimed a line-out, allowing a wonderful reverse pass from fly-half James Brown, to hand Drahm space to slot his kick. In the 38th minute King drew Wasps level, landing a simple penalty after Drahm had failed to deal with a routine high kick.
Minutes later Drahm atoned for his error, this time claiming a King high kick and galloping clear of a poor Wasps defence to feed Worcester number eight Kai Horstmann to score in the corner. Drahm missed the difficult conversion from the touchline.
The visitors’ spirit appeared to be broken just two minutes after the break as 19-year-old Cipriani danced over for Wasps’ 600th Premiership try after smooth handling from Lawrence Dallaglio. King added the conversion. Worcester hooker Chris Fortey was sin-binned in the 50th minute for killing the ball at a ruck and King further extended Wasps’ lead with a penalty.
Worcester looked dead and buried at the foot of the table in November, until festive victories at Northampton and Saracens, coupled with an impressive defensive record of conceding just nine tries in their last seven league games. And Worcester’s newly-found fighting qualities resurfaced as Drahm scored a 55th minute penalty to drag the Premiership’s bottom club back into the game.
King and Drahm exchanged further penalties as the game hung in the balance, while Wasps youngster James Haskell dropped the ball in sight of the Worcester line and a Dallaglio try was crossed out for a forward pass. King added a further three points courtesy of a penalty after Worcester were penalised for piling over the top at a ruck.
But Wasps relied upon a moment of magic of from their England wing Lewsey, who produced a try-saving tackle to deny Worcester centre Trueman.