A Worcester Warriors side peppered with Premiership performers proved too strong for Leicester Tigers’ young guns in the first hit-out of the new season in the Premiership Rugby Cup on Saturday.
The Worcester side wrapped up the bonus-point before the break, with tries from Perry Humphreys, Isaac Miller, Caleb Montgomery and Alex Hearle putting the home side in control despite three Tom Hardwick penalties and a score for Andy Forsyth.
Three more Warriors scores in the second half put the game to bed, though there would be a late consolation when Johnny McPhillips crossed for his first try in Tigers colours on the stroke of full time.
Six of the Tigers starting XV marked their senior debuts at Sixways, with Tigers Academy graduates Sam Costelow, Jack van Poortvliet, George Martin and Charlie Clare plus new arrival Joe Thomas and loan signing Ifereimi Boladau all getting a first run-out in Tigers colours.
Former Tigers lock Graham Kitchener lined up against his previous club from the off, with a start in a Warriors side formed of largely first-choice players.
Worcester fly-half Jono Lance hoisted the ball deep into the Tigers half to start proceedings, with Geordan Murphy’s men absorbing the early pressure and winning a kickable penalty on the first trip into the home half, which Tom Hardwick duly claimed.
Lance hit back with a penalty of his own with six minutes gone to take the scores to three-apiece, but Worcester mis-cued Costelow’s testing restart and Tigers won the ball back just metres from the line through a Tommy Reffell steal.
While Sam Aspland-Robinson was unable to claim Hardwick’s cheeky chip-kick for the game’s first try, referee Christophe Ridley brought the teams back for a Worcester offence on the floor. Inside centre Hardwick added three more points.
The home response was immediate, with Worcester getting the ball out quickly from a scrum to put winger Perry Humphreys through a gap down the middle of the pitch for a score under the posts, which Lance converted.
But the visitors wouldn’t have any of it, stealing the ball after the lineout to see Tommy Reffell burst through. The Welshman fed loanee Andy Forsyth to run in for Leicester’s first score. Hardwick drilled the ball through the uprights to nudge Tigers into a three-point lead, at 13 points to 10.
With a quarter of the game gone – and after a brief water stoppage in the hot September sun – Worcester had a throw-in on halfway to get back into the game, which Kitchener claimed. The Warriors put the ball through the hands and, despite some crunching tackles in the Tigers backfield, hooker Isaac Miller crashed over for a converted score on the left.
Tigers No8 Boladau took the game by the scruff of the neck on the restart with a heavy-duty carry through the guts of the Worcester defence, though Tigers were unable to recycle the ball quick enough to get the ball over the line.
They had the momentum, though, and just a few phases later hooker Clare put skipper Harry Wells through a gap in exactly the same area of the pitch. While the second-rower managed to offload to Van Poortvliet, the Worcester defence scrambled back in the nick of time.
Instead, the home side worked the ball from one wing back to the other following a lineout to put back-rower Caleb Montgomery over for another home score. Lance’s conversion took the score to 24-13.
There was time for one more lung-busting break down the field for Tigers, with the final pass out to Joe Thomas on the left seemingly knocked forward by a Worcester hand.
Warriors reset a few phases later, and while Tigers’ young guns bravely disrupted the ball, replacement back Alex Hearle finished off a side-to-side attack to claim the bonus-point try on the stroke of half time. Another Lance kick took the score to 31-13 at the break.
Leicester pinned the home side back into their own half from the off in the second period, and settled for another three from Hardwick’s boot for the first points of the half.
Worcester hit back through their backs – releasing Beck for a second try in the corner – and while Tigers worked the ball up to the try line following the restart, the final lineout went awry.
Some good work on the floor from Tigers slowed the game down for the next 10 minutes or so, though the men in fluoro-red were unable to capitalise.
Instead, it would be the home side who finished off the next score, with replacement prop Farai Mudariki bundling over from the lineout. The conversion from full-back Scott van Breda took the score to 43-16, before replacements Johnny McPhillips and Keston Lines both joined the field for their senior club debuts.
Heavy defensive work from the Tigers pack kept Worcester out for the next quarter, and the home side would break their half-century in unusual fashion as Ridley signaled for a penalty try as the ball bobbled dead.
They added another with two minutes to go, when replacement fly-half Jamie Shillcock burst through some tired Tigers legs for their final score.
There would be a late consolation for Tigers, when No22 McPhillips cut through for a first senior try in club colours. Hardwick’s full-time conversion took the final score to 57-23.
Thank you to all the travelling fans who joined us for our first match of the 2019/20 season here at Worcester today and we hope to see you back at Welford Road for the first home game of the season next Friday night against Exeter Chiefs.
And that's that.
The conversion is the final action of the match and the referee blows his whistle to end the game 57-23.
Tigers add the final points of the match as Tom Hardwick lands the conversion.
It's one end of the pitch to the other from the scrum as Worcester pass wide and chip up field.
Worth collects and runs it back into Worcesters half, offloading to Forsyth, who offloads to Polota-Nau who finds Boladau in some space and getting into the Worcester 22 round the defenders to Johnny McPhillips who breaks the last ditch tackles to run in under the posts.
Tigers compete for the ball at the restart but the referee blows his whistle as the ball is caught in the breakdown and Worcester have a scrum just outside their 22.
Scott van Breda adds the conversion for Worcester to make it 57-16.
Worcester take the ball at the restart and work the ball up the field for Jamie Shillcock to find his way over the tryline.
Tigers get the ball out of the scrum and kick it up field but Worcester find some space to run the ball back into Tigers half.
There is a chip ahead and as the players all try to get back to collect the ball, the ball goes loose but the referee runs straight under the posts for a penalty try.
Worcesters with the ball
Tigers are penalised at the lineout and kick to the corner for another lineout.
Tigers disrupt the driving maul and Worcester knock-on for a Tigers scrum inside our 22.
Tigers in Worcester Territory
It is messy but Worcester kick clear from the scrum and Tigers keep the ball, running it back at Worcester in their 22 building some phases before Worcester turnover and chip ahead down field.
Freddie Steward collects and kicks clear for a Worcester lineout outside our 22.
Cameron Jordan replaces George Martin.
Tigers loose ball
Tigers get the ball at the lineout but it goes loose and the referee calls a knock-on for a Worcester scrum inside their 22.
Tigers go well in the scrum
Tigers look good at the scrum, firstly winning a free-kick and opting to scrum again before winning a full penalty in the next scrum and kick to touch for the lineout in the Worcester 22.
Almost another break
TIgers take advantage of a loose ball by Worcester at the lineout and Boladau chips ahead almost collecting the ball again after a fortunate bounce but not fortunate enough and his fingertips knock the ball on for a Worcester scrum on their 10 metre line.
Keston Lines and Jonny Law replace Facundo Gigena and Jack van Poortvliet.
Tigers show good phases
Tigers build some phases in the Worcester 22 with some good running lines but a chip ahead is returned by Worcester and finds touch in Tigers 22.
More action from both sides in the middle of the pitch from the restart, Tigers looking to build phases but the ball goes loose and Worcester get the scrum.
Tigers win a penalty at the scrum and kick for a lineout on the Worcester 10 metre line.
Scott van Breda adds the conversion to make it 43-16.
Worcester with the ball and running it from one side of the pitch to the other and up into the Tigers 22 from the lineout before and offload to Farai Mudariki breaks his way over the tryline.
Joe Heyes and Johnny McPhillips replace Gaston Cortes and Sam Costelow.
Another Tigers Break
It's a beautiful break at the lineout as Polota-Nau gets the ball and breaks his way through the defence into the Worcester 22 but the referee blows for holding on and Worcester get the ball, kicking for another lineout on halfway.
Worcester win a penalty at the scrum and kick to touch for a lineout just inside their half.
Thom Smith and Tatafu Polota-Nau replace Sam Lewis and Charlie Clare.
Tigers show good skill from the lineout as Andy Forsyth gets the ball into space and breaks a tackle to get into the Worcester 22 and Tigers are on the attack.
The referee penalises Tigers at the breakdown and Worcester have the scrum.
Good Rugby on show
The ball goes long at the lineout and Worcester run it out of the 22 but Tigers hold on in defence and win back the ball, Tigers then have the chance to run the ball and some kicks from both sides sees the ball go into touch for a Tigers lineout in the Worcester half.
Worcester on the attack
Worcester put on some phases and there is a break down the far win but the ball goes loose into touch.
Tigers win a free kick and kick up field, Worcester collect and try to run it out of their half but are penalised at the breakdown, Hardwick kicks for a lineout in Worcesters 22.
Worcester bring on their whole bench as replacements.
Tigers with the lineout in the corner but Worcester make a steal and win a penalty in the maul.
Worcester kick to touch for a lineout on their 10 metre line.
Tigers Back in the Attack
Tigers look good with the ball and put on some phases to build an attack in the Worcester 22, getting up to the Worcester tryline before Worcester are penalised at the breakdown.
Hardwick kicks to the corner for a Tigers lineout.
Jono Lance with his first miss of the day is just wide with the conversion so the score stays 36-16.
Some good rugby played across the middle of the pitch but there is a loose pass and Worcester are quick to react.
Ted Hill takes a pass into space and makes a break into Tigers 22 before the offload is shipped out wide to Ashely Beck to score in the corner.
Tom Hardwick lands the conversion to add to Tigers score and make it 31-16.
Tigers win a penalty at the scrum and kick for the lineout on the Worcester 22.
Tigers go for a long throw at the lineout and get it out into the midfield where Worcester are penalised at the breakdown. Hardwick points to the posts.
EArly Pressure from Tigers
Tigers with the early pressure as an unforced error by Worcester sees the ball knocked-on as they are clearing their 22 for a Tigers scrum on the Worcester 10 metre line.
TIGERS KICK-OFF SECOND HALF
Sam Costelow gets us underway for the second-half here at Worcester.
Members of the TigersFamily at Worcester
The converison is the last action of the half as the referee blows the half-time whistle.
Jono Lance makes no mistake with the conversion to make it 31-13.
Tigers make a valiant effort as Tigers clearing kick from the scrum is run back at them.
The ball is again run from wing to wing and stretches the Tigers defence with the offloads in the far corner proving one too many and Alex Hearle gets over on the far side of the pitch.
Dean Hammond is replaced by Alex Hearle.
One tryline to the other
As Tigers are building the phases the balls goes loose in a pass and Tigers are pushed back to the 22 line.
Worcester makes a turnover and the ball is run out to the wing where Chris Pennell chips ahead, Freddie Steward watches the ball over the dead ball line to see Tigers get a scrum outside our 22.
Tigers work the ball up to the Worcester tryline and build phases as they try to get over the line.
Tigers showing some fight
Tigers get the ball at the restart and some good hands gets the ball out wide and Tigers attacking in the Worcester 22.
Sam Aspland-Robinson has been replaced by George Worth.
Jono Lance adds the extras to make it 24-13.
Worcester show good running rugby from the lineout and work the ball from one wing to the other before finding the space for Caleb Montgomery to power over the tryline.
Strong Driving Maul
Worcester have a strong driving maul from the lineout and Tigers are penalised as they get to halfway.
Worcester kick to touch for a lineout outisde Tigers 22.
Showing good defence
Tigers show good defence as Worcester look to run the ball from the lineout, a loose ball is knocked-on by Worcester and Tigers chip it ahead for a lineout in Tigers 22.
It's a bit messy
It's end to end and messy ball as Tigers take a loose ball and as the ball goes wide a great pass to Harry Wells sees him in space and up into the Worcester 22.
There's an offload to Jack Van Poortvliet to keep the action going but the referee penalises Tigers for holding onto the ball. Worcester kick for the lineout on their 10 metre line.
Free Kick for Worcester
Worcester win a free kick at the scrum and kick up field, the ball goes straight into touch on Tigers 10 metre line.
Tigers create a driving maul but the ball goes loose, knock-on and Worcester scrum.
What a run!
Tigers recover a long throw at the lineout and the ball is passed out to Ifereimi Boladau who breaks from Tigers half up into the Worcester 22 but the referee calls a knock-on and Worcester scrum.
Middle of the pitch
The action is all based around the middle of the pitch as there is some back and forth kicking.
Worcester chips ahead but Freddie Steward does well to recover and offload to Sam Costelow to kick clear.
Jono Lance with the conversion to make it 17-13 after 21 minutes.
Worcester show good handling and offloads as they make a break through the Tigers defence and sees the ball get to to the hooker Isaac Miller to score.
Tigers take the ball from the lineout and find touch on halfway as they kick the ball clear.
It's all in Tigers half from the restart as Worcester look to put the pressure back on after the try.
Some kicks test both sides before Worcesters break on the wing sees the ball go into touch for a Tigers lineout.
Tom Hardwick adds the conversion to make it 10-13.
Tigers collect the ball and some good running from Freddie Steward gets Tigers going forward into Worcesters half.
The ball is brough back in field and Tommy Reffell breaks through the defence, offloads to Andy Forsyth who runs in to score under the posts.
Some good rugby from Tigers at the restart, a good kick down into Worcester territory but they go quick and kick into touch further up field.
Tigers lineout but the ball is stolen and Worcester kick ahead to put pressure on Tigers backline.
Jono Lance adds the extras for Worcester to make the score 10-6.
Worcester are quick to get the ball out of the scrum and Perry Humphreys makes a break to run the ball in to score under the posts.
It is loose ball at the restart as both teams go for the ball but Tigers are penalised for a knock-on and it is a Worcester scrum just outside the Tigers 22.
Tom Hardwick adds the penalty for Tigers to make the score 3-6.
Tigers try a chip through and Sam Aspland-Robinson is almost through to get the ball but the balls goes loose.
The referee calls us back for advantage and Tigers point to the posts.
Turnovers for both teams
It's back and forth with possession from the restart as both teams win turnovers but it is Tigers with the ball and on the attack in Worcesters 22 after a great turnover from Tommy Reffell.
Jono Lance adds the first points for Worcester as he lands the penalty to make scores level at 3-3.
Worcester make a break at the lineout from centre Ashley Beck, Tigers bring him down but are penalised at the break down and Worcester points to the posts.
Worcester take the lineout ball and try a chip ahead but Tigers recover and try a chip across field to Freddie Steward on the wing but goes straight into touch, Worcester lineout.
Tigers take the restart ball but Jack Van Poortvliet finds touch and we have the firsts lineout of the match.
First points of the match go to Tigers through the boot of Tom Hardwick who lands the penalty kick and makes it 0-3.
We have early exchanges as the ball stays in play from the kick-off and both sides want to run the ball.
A charge down kick in Worcseter's half is recovered by Tigers who win a penalty at the breakdown.
HERE WE GO!
Worcester's Jono Lance to kick us off here at Sixways!
Ready for Kick-Off
The teams are back out on the pitch, Tigers lead out by today's captain Harry Wells and we ready for kick-off.
Minutes to go...
We are just minutes away from kick-off as the teams finish their warm-ups and leave the pitch.
The teams are out on the pitch going through the warm-ups as the sun is shining down on everyone here at Worcester.
Sunshine in Worcester
2019/20 Season Kicks Off
It's finally here! It's the first matchday of the 2019/20 season as Tigers visit Worcester Warriors to kick-off the Premiership Rugby Cup.