Worcester blow Gloucester away after strong start

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Gloucester’s Aviva Premiership play-off hopes suffered a blow as Worcester sent them packing 25-15 at Sixways.

Worcester, despite going into battle with only relegation favourites London Irish below them in the table, never looked back following tries during an impressive opening 20 minutes from scrum-half Jonny Arr, fly-half Jamie Shillcock and Wales international wing Josh Adams.

Full-back Chris Pennell added two conversions and two penalties,  leaving even a losing bonus point beyond Gloucester’s reach.

Centre Matt Scott and wing Henry Trinder claimed touchdowns for the visitors, while centre Billy Twelvetrees added a penalty and fly-half Billy Burns converted Scott’s touchdown, but they could have few complaints about the result.

Worcester’s win took them further clear of Irish and completed another giant stride towards Premiership safety, but Gloucester’s top-four ambitions appear inconclusive on this latest evidence.

Worcester, buoyant following an away victory over Premiership champions Exeter last weekend, blasted out of the blocks and were ahead within five minutes.

Gloucester’s close-quarter defence lost concentration following a break by Adams, and Arr, in his first game after four months out because of concussion, slipped through a gap for an opening try that Pennell converted.

Gloucester, despite a Twelvetrees penalty opening their account, were at sixes and sevens, and they fell further behind in the 12th minute when Worcester handled slickly and at pace, creating enough space for Shillcock to glide over.

Another Pennell conversion took the Warriors 11 points clear, with Gloucester’s woes continuing as they lost Tom Marshall through injury and then saw his fellow wing Trinder receive a yellow card following a technical infringement.

The visitors rallied through Scott’s touchdown following a midfield fumble by Adams – Burns added the extras – but Worcester immediately responded with a third try when centre Ryan Mills’ long pass found an unmarked Adams, who finished under no pressure whatsoever.

For a team with title play-off ambitions, it was a dismal opening quarter by Gloucester, and they ended the half 12 points adrift after Pennell kicked a short-range penalty to make it 22-10 in Worcester’s favour.

Gloucester knew they had to score first during the second period, and with Twelvetrees prominent in midfield, they enjoyed a spell of front-foot rugby that ended with Trinder finishing strongly wide out for a 49th-minute try that trimmed Worcester’s advantage to seven points.

Worcester’s reply was to keep possession and tight and move the ball through their forwards, with Leicester-bound Scotland international flanker David Denton proving particularly prominent.

Gloucester found themselves pinned inside their own 22 as the final 15 minutes approached, and even they broke out, a penalty was conceded that Pennell kicked from 45 metres to effectively seal Worcester’s victory.

Gloucester laid siege to Worcester’s 22 during the closing stages as they looked to collect something from the game, but Worcester kept them out and deservedly secured victory.

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