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Worcester send Tigers to first Premiership defeat

04 Nov 2005
Worcester send Tigers to first Premiership defeat

The Warriors’ points all came from the boot of Shane Drahm as he kicked five first-half penalties while Will Skinner scored the only try of the match.

Worcester, roared on by a 9,726 capacity crowd, made the more impressive start but it was the visitors who drew first blood. Welford Road fly-half Ross Broadfoot put the Tigers in front with an early penalty but it was the Warriors’ full-back Nicolas Le Roux who was catching the eye with some pacy breaks.

And it was from such a thrust that Worcester got themselves back level after five minutes following an infringement from Leicester. Drahm slotted the three-pointer and, soon after, the Australian put his side ahead with another sweet penalty.

The Tigers, though, always looked a threat out wide and up front and, once
Alesana Tuilagi broke free, a stretched Worcester were forced onto the back foot and flanker Skinner was driven over to put Leicester back in front.

In a topsy-turvy game, the home side hit back with a Drahm penalty midway through the half but the turning point of the period came when Ben Kay was shown the yellow card for an off-the-ball challenge on fellow lock Craig Gillies. Worcester made the extra man count and Drahm’s two penalties gave the Sixways men a 15-8 half-time lead.

The Tigers were finding the Worcester pack – minus internationals Chris
Horsman and Pat Sanderson – too hot to handle and following another impressive catch and drive, Leicester’s James Hamilton was sin-binned for pulling down.

And although Worcester could not add to their half-time advantage, their pack’s dominance and Drahm’s accuracy, meant that all the rugby was being played in the Leicester half. The Aussie pegged the Tigers back time after time with a sumptuous display of kicking while Le Roux always offered the unexpected from full-back.

With the clock running down, however, Leicester – boosted by the return of England cast-off Andy Goode and the enigmatic Austin Healey – ventured into the Worcester half to great effect. Goode slotted a penalty, following some fine work from Healey, with 10 minutes left and it gave the Sixways supporters a nail-biting climax.

However, led magnificently by Tony Windo, last season’s Premiership survivors hung on for their first top-level win over their midland rivals.

 

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