After a season in the Championship, Worcester’s Tom Heathcote ensured his side’s return to the Aviva Premiership was a winning one with a last ditch drop-goal at Sixways.
Tries Gerrit-Jan van Velze (WOR)
Conversions Tom Heathcote (WOR)
Penalties Tom Heathcote (WOR) | Stephen Myler, 4 (NOR)
Drop Goals Tom Heathcote (WOR)
Heathcote had missed his two kicks previous to the winning attempt, and Ryan Mills also missed a chance in the second half to take Worcester further clear, while the newly promoted side were just one point ahead of Northampton.
With two minutes left on the clock, Northampton’s Stephen Myler had converted his fourth penalty of the night, making victory look like a certainty for his side.
But having received the kick off, Saints went on to lose the ball and after several drives from Worcester, the ball found it’s way out of the ruck and in to the hands of Heathcote, who kicked for goal with the clock already in the red.
Captain Gerrit-Jan van Velze scored the only try of the game for Worcester against his former club, following a surging run from Heathcote that saw him breakthrough the Northampton defence completely untracked.
Worcester looked to get a second try under their belts, with their forwards confident of breaking through after a number of rucks closing in on Northampton’s five metre line.
The game had started excitingly, with Northampton’s Luther Burrell keen to prove a point to England coach Stuart Lancaster following his surprise exclusion from the World Cup squad.
Worcester’s victory could have been much more assured, but they were made to pay for sloppy handling errors and a number of poor box kicks from scrum-half Jonny Arr.
The Warriors were fully deserving of their victory and speaking after the game, head coach Dean Ryan was keen to praise his side’s defensive display, having completed 95% of their 137 tackles throughout the night.
New recruit Phil Dowson picked up the BT Sport man-of-the-match award for the winning side.
Elsewhere in the Aviva Premiership, Harlequins beat London Wasps by 26 points to 21, and Gloucester trumped Newcastle Falcons 39-27.