Match Reaction: Worcester Warriors vs Exeter Chiefs
A wonderful first-half double for Santiago Cordero proved just enough as the Exeter Chiefs strengthened their title credentials with a bonus-point win against Worcester Warriors.
The Argentinian crossed twice along with teammate Olly Woodburn to give the league leaders a 19-6 lead going into half-time.
A battling Warriors side scored two sublime tries after the break through Bryce Heem and Ted Hill, only to be pegged back by scores from Tom O’Flaherty and Harry Williams.
Tom Howe and Chris Pennell ran in two more for the hosts late on to reduce the deficit but Exeter held out to secure a 33-30 victory.
The win extends Chiefs’ lead at the top to eight points following Saracens’ loss on Friday night, while Worcester remain second from bottom despite notching two bonus points.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Santiago Cordero’s work on the right flank proved why he is invaluable to a robust Exeter Chiefs outfit.
The full-back ran in his seventh and eighth tries of the campaign in a pulsating first half to give his side a commandeering lead.
Though he was watched more carefully in the second half, Cordero’s presence seemed to open up space for the likes of O’Flaherty and Williams to take full advantage.
TRY OF THE MATCH
Cordero’s first try not only set the tone for a wonderful offensive display for the Chiefs, but was a work of beauty in itself.
After O’Flaherty weaved his way past several helpless Worcester defenders, an intelligent offload to Woodburn allowed Cordero to fill the empty space on the right wing.
The winger played a simple pass to the Argentinian, who made no mistake as he sped into the empty space.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Though they may have lost the game, Chris Pennell’s late try to secure two bonus points rounded off a wonderful 150th appearance in a Warriors shirt.
The full-back added a couple of conversions to round off his skilful outing and bring up 400 career points.
Except for a win, Pennell couldn’t ask for much more from his testimonial.
WHAT THEY SAID
Worcester director of rugby Alan Solomons said: “To get those two points was massive. Every single point in this league counts as it’s the best competition of its type in the world.
“After last week’s disappointing show at Newcastle, we needed a performance. Our effort was exemplary as we had to get back into the game against a very good side.
“We deserved our two points as the tries we scored were really good as we showed what our attack is capable of.”
Exeter Chiefs head coach Ali Hepher said: “It’s a little bit frustrating as we took our eye off the ball, it’s human nature to relax but situations can always come back to bite you so we need to be more ruthless.
“We are well-positioned with four home games in our final set of six fixtures but we are just continuing to look at each performance as we go along.”
BEST OF SOCIAL
— Worcester Warriors ⚔️ (@WorcsWarriors) 9 March 2019
— Tom Howe (@tom_howe_14) 9 March 2019
“We deserved two points “ Worcester Warriors Alan Solomons tells BBC Hereford and Worcester after they come back against Premiership leaders Exeter Chiefs but lose 33-30. pic.twitter.com/cZwTmT0lyl
— BBC H and W (@bbchw) 9 March 2019
What a game @WorcsWarriors! Huge thanks to @ExeterChiefs players too – hung around for ages after the match with the Warriors boys for photos & autographs. So busy mingling we missed the England game 😂 my boy is buzzing too! Great to see @tom_howe_14 on the scoresheet again 👌 pic.twitter.com/T8VImwuPWG
— Dale G (@GraphicsDale) 9 March 2019
— CCB Alway House (@Alway_CCB) 9 March 2019