Bryce Heem scored two tries as Worcester Warriors took another step towards Aviva Premiership Rugby survival with a 28-20 win over Gloucester Rugby at Sixways.
After beating Newcastle Falcons last week, Worcester flew out of the blocks with an early score from Heem, and he added a second before half-time.
When Niall Annett crossed early in the second half, there looked to be no way back for Gloucester, and despite James Hook’s try, the home side were able to see it out.
Worcester made a dream start with a converted try after just two minutes as Gloucester failed to deal with a high ball. Ryan Mills put in the cross kick and when it bounced awkwardly for Rob Cook, Heem pounced and raced over for the try. Tom Heathcote added the extras.
Gloucester then lost Willi Heinz to injury, but could have cut the deficit only for Hook’s effort to drift wide.
They did manage to draw level midway through the half though, when Callum Braley, having replaced Heinz, put through a perfect grubber. Billy Meakes was on hand to dot down, with Hook converting to level the scores.
Worcester were still looking dangerous, and one break from Wynand Olivier had the visitors scrambling, but the move was shut down by a huge tackle from Sione Kalamafoni on Heathcote. In the end Gloucester were able to clear but the next time Worcester attacked they earned a penalty which Heathcote slotted to give the Warriors the lead once more.
That was quickly cancelled out by Hook when Carl Kirwan failed to roll away in a tackle, while Heathcote missed his next kick as it came back off the post from 40 metres out.
Still, Worcester weren’t slowing down, and when they were stopped illegally on the Gloucester line, Ross Moriarty was sent to the bin.
The Warriors were able to take advantage, spreading the ball to Heem to sprint over for his second of the half. Heathcote was shaken up in the move and although he recovered to take the kick, he was off-target with his effort. Worcester led 15-10 at the break.
The home side had the extra man to start the second half but couldn’t use it to build on their lead.
Despite that, they were looking the more dangerous team and when Moriarty returned it was Worcester who scored again. A few charges from the forwards had them on the front foot and after Francois Hougaard was stopped, Annett forced his way over. Heathcote converted to make it 22-10.
Hook responded with a penalty for Gloucester, but they still trailed by more than a score heading into the final quarter.
Worcester were dominant at scrum-time though, and another huge shove earned them another shot at goal for Heathcote. He made no mistake to push the lead back to 12 points.
But Gloucester weren’t done, and when they earned a penalty deep in Worcester territory they kicked to the corner.
The forwards tried to crash through, but in the end it was the quick feet of Hook that made the difference. The Welshman converted his own try to cut the deficit to five at 25-20.
Worcester came back again, with another Heathcote penalty easing any fears of a comeback and they saw the rest of the game out.