Worcester Warriors bounced back from their Aviva Premiership Rugby defeat to Bristol Rugby by turning in an impressive performance to see off in-form Harlequins 24-17 for their second league win of the season.
Less than a week after losing out to Bristol Rugby, Warriors ended their winless streak in style, with the foundations for the victory laid with a first-half performance which saw them 16-0 up at the break.
Dean Hammond crossed the whitewash with the impressive Ryan Mills adding a further 11 points from the kicking tee before Ben Te’o’s try after the break made it 21-0.
Quins, who had only ever lost once in any competition at Sixways back in October 2004, rallied with Charlie Matthews and Alofa Alofa dotting down but the hosts held firm for their second Aviva Premiership Rugby win in 16 matches.
Thanks for following on what’s been a special start to the New Year at Sixways! We’ll see you at Kingsholm next Saturday! #WeAreWarriors
— Worcester Warriors🏉 (@WorcsWarriors) January 1, 2017
Worcester started the stronger, and soon won themselves an attacking line out which Quins – who welcomed Chris Robshaw back at flanker for the first time since the Autumn internationals – managed to repel.
But they were not to be denied a second time as from another line out, the hosts set up the rolling maul and Mills’ long pass out wide played in Hammond to go over in the corner for his second try in as many games.
Mills converted and Worcester were in the ascendency with England international Te’o in the thick of the action and Mills adding another penalty after 20 minutes for 10-0.
Harlequins were struggling to get a foothold in the game and lost two scrums in quick succession with their misery compounded when Mills then slotted another penalty from just inside the Quins half to add another three points to the scoreboard.
With the clock ticking past the half hour mark, the visitors finally managed to exert some pressure on the Warriors defence with the first sign of weakness evident when Darren Barry was sinbinned for an infringement.
FULL TIME and Harlequins secure late losing bonus point at Sixways Stadium pic.twitter.com/uxhh7El99p
— Harlequins (@Harlequins) January 1, 2017
However the Warriors regrouped and managed to turnover possession as Quins went for the line, before launching their own attack shortly afterwards as Te’o’s grubber kick saw a foot race between Hammond and Marland Yarde which the latter eventually won.
But from the line out, Worcester pushed towards the try line and when Joe Marler illegally held up Te’o on the line – receiving a yellow for his troubles – Mills added another penalty for a 16-0 half-time lead.
It didn’t take long for Warriors to extend their lead in the second-half as good build up play saw the ball played around the corner where Te’o crashed over, although Mills failed to add the extras.
He was also off target eight minutes later as his 52nd minute penalty bounced back of the post to leave the score at 21-0.
Quins seemed boosted by the reprieve with Danny Care attempting to drive his team on from the scrum before Mills was required on defensive duties shortly afterwards.
Jack Singleton then had to be alert to tackle Care just metres away from his own try line but the visitors recycled the ball and eventually went over through Matthews on 61 minutes, with Ruaridh Jackson converting for 21-7.
Worcester looked to hit back and gained themselves valuable breathing space when Harlequins were again penalised and Mills held his nerve from 40 metres out to extend their advantage.
But Quins came again, and despite some last ditch tackling from the hosts, crossed the whitewash after Brown’s break set up Alofa Alofa in the corner. Tim Swiel sent over the conversion before a late penalty ensured a losing bonus point for the visitors.
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) January 1, 2017