Premiership: Worcester Warriors 29-14 Harlequins

Premiership: Worcester Warriors 29-14 Harlequins
Worcester centre Ollie Lawrence’s try was his third in the Premiership this season – and all three have come on the artificial Sixways pitch
Worcester (26) 29
Tries: Du Preez, Lawrence, Annett, Hougaard Cons: Weir 3 Pen: Weir
Harlequins (0) 14
Tries: Ashton, Elia Cons: Lang 2

Worcester Warriors ended their eight-match losing run as they finally earned their first Premiership win of 2020.

Three pushover tries from Cornell Du Preez, Ollie Lawrence and Niall Annett in half an hour put Warriors on top.

Scrum-half Francois Hougaard then broke to score his first try of the season to earn a bonus point before the break.

Quins rallied from their 26-0 half-time deficit with tries from England winger Chris Ashton and replacement Elia Elia, but it was not quite enough.

Still scoreless after an hour, Quins were in danger of a first ‘nilling’ in the Premiership in six years.

But fit-again England scrum-half Danny Care’s return off the bench on 57 minutes for his first appearance since the restart after a back injury helped give Quins their second-half impetus.

Warriors even finished with 14 men after a late yellow card for prop Callum Black, but the visitors could not score again,

And stand-off Duncan Weir’s penalty, to add to his three first-half conversions, had already given the hosts that extra cushion.

Warriors made 10 changes for the game, which came just five days after Friday’s 32-17 loss at Wasps, while Quins made eight changes after Saturday’s 38-24 defeat at Saracens.

Worcester had not won in the league since beating London Irish over Christmas, but they gave themselves a lift ahead of this Sunday’s daunting test at Premiership leaders Exeter.

The home pack were in unstoppable form as number eight Du Preez, centre Ollie Lawrence and hooker Annett – who also scored his first try of the season – all touched down from rolling mauls before Hougaard galloped over for his 39th-minute score.

Seventh-placed Quins are also back in action on Sunday, at home to sixth-placed Northampton.

Worcester Warriors director of rugby Alan Solomons: “Our defence was really good, as was our scrum and line-out.

“It was important to win, and it is now a four-day turnaround before we face Exeter.

“Exeter are an absolutely outstanding side, one hell of a side.

“But for us to get our first bonus-point win of the season was exactly that – a bonus.”

Harlequins head of rugby Paul Gustard: “I am embarrassed. It was a sobering first 40 minutes. We never saw that coming. That’s not to say we are an arrogant team and we think that we are going to dominate teams physically.

“We didn’t think we picked people that were going to get steam-rollered, but that’s exactly what happened. We got bullied when we carried the ball.

“We lost 25% of our line-out ball, and the story of the game was that we never got a foothold in it because we didn’t control any territory.

“Everyone is hurting. That first 40 minutes is one of the lowest points of my coaching career. We never got to fire a shot, we were on the back foot all the time.”

Worcester Warriors: Pennell; Howe, Lawrence, Venter, Heward; Weir, Hougaard; Waller, Annett, Schonert, Bresler, G Kitchener, Hill, Kvesic, Du Preez.

Replacements: Cutting, Black, Palframan, A Kitchener, Lewis, Simpson, Searle, Beck.

Sin bin: Black (77).

Harlequins: Morris; Ashton, Northmore, Tapuai, Murley; Herron, Steele; Botta, Gray, Collier, Young, Cavubati, Lamb, Evans, Lawday (capt).

Replacements: Elia, Thomas, Van Dyk, White, Chisholm, Care, Lasike, Lang.

Referee: Jack Makepeace.

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