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Match Report: Worcester Warriors 25 Bath Rugby 19

15 Apr 2017
Match Report: Worcester Warriors 25 Bath Rugby 19

Worcester Warriors pulled off a surprise 25-19 victory at Sixways to put a major dent in Bath Rugby’s Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-final hopes.

With nearest rivals Leicester Tigers claiming a bonus point win against Newcastle Falcons, this could prove to be a key encounter against a team Bath have beaten in their previous eight encounters.

But Worcester – inspired by three second-half tries – had other ideas and victory means they won’t be able to finish bottom if bottom side Bristol Rugby fail to beat leaders Wasps on Easter Sunday.

Bath named an unchanged team from the side that beat the Tigers at Twickenham in The Clash and had the better of the first half, looking the more dangerous with the ball in hand.

Meanwhile, Worcester’s creativity – and better share of territory – was too often negated by their sloppy handling errors.

The hosts started the better before Bath finally settled, with full-back Anthony Watson denied in the frantic opening exchanges.

Bath fly-half George Ford broke the deadlock with an early penalty that was soon cancelled out by Ryan Mills.

However, just before the half-time whistle, Bath took control, a missed tackle in midfield laying the foundation for Matt Banahan to crash over for a record 51st career try in blue and white.

But with the whistle hovering at referee Luke Pearce’s lips, Worcester reduced the arrears and swung the momentum back towards them – which they capitalised on after the restart.

Fly-half Mills was again the architect, sizing up a long-range penalty from ten metres inside his own half and then threading the posts with a powerful strike.

Ford stretched Bath’s lead with his second penalty after the restart but then Worcester made their presence felt, their composure finally holding at the decisive moments.

Josh Adams crashed over in the corner after Ben Te’o had broke through midfield, he offloaded to Jackson Willison who then sprung free the young Welsh winger.

Mills missed the conversion but within minutes Wynand Olivier had scored, running onto Mills’ well-timed pass after Chris Vui had claimed a line-out ball.

That score put the Sixways faithful into full voice and – following another Ford penalty – they made even more noise when Will Spencer barged over from a tap and go penalty, just rewards for some serious pressure on the Bath line.

Mills added the conversion and while Ford collected his fourth penalty in the closing minutes, Worcester held on for a win that could prove as decisive for them as defeat may be for Bath.

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