Gloucester breathed a huge sigh of relief after holding on for a hard-fought 12-6 victory over Worcester at Kingsholm on Sunday.
Gloucester fans breathed a huge sigh of relief after their team held on for a hard-fought 12-6 victory over struggling Worcester at Kingsholm on Sunday.
The result ends a five-match Premiership losing streak for Gloucester and means that Worcester have yet to win in 14 starts in all competitions this season.
The Warriors nevertheless gave their hosts a run for their money in a tense but ultimately tryless tussle.
It was far from a classic as Billy Twelvetrees kicked all of Gloucester's points via four penalties while Ignacio Mieres replied with two for the visitors.
In difficult conditions, the first half of this game between two Premiership strugglers proved to be unsurprisingly scrappy.
Two Twelvetrees penalties to one from Mieres gave the Cherry and Whites a 6-3 advantage at the interval, but it wasn't a vintage performance from a team that finished last season in fifth.
The second period wasn't much better, as a pair of Twelvetrees three-pointers gave the hosts the victory, despite Mieres briefly levelling the scores after the interval.
The Warriors got off to the worst possible start when Jeremy Su'a dropped the ball inside his own 22. Gloucester then built pressure on the visiting rearguard and, after Dean Ryan's men had infringed, Twelvetrees kicked the hosts into a 3-0 lead.
However, the Midlands' outfit responded well to that setback, testing the opposition defence early on with Mieres marshalling their attacking game well.
Worcester were rewarded for that endeavour when their fly-half levelled matters from the tee.
But it was the hosts that looked more threatening behind the scrum with Jonny May and Charlie Sharples prominent, and Twelvetrees deservedly gave them a 6-3 half-time advantage.
The Warriors went back to what had proved successful in the opening period after the break, turning the back three and pinning Gloucester in their own half.
Nigel Davies' men eventually succumbed, conceding a three-point opportunity which Mieres converted to take the score to 6-6.
Pressure was beginning to build on the Cherry and Whites, considering their dreadful Premiership run, but they responded well and Twelvetrees added successive penalties – the second after Richard de Carpentier had been sin-binned for a high tackle.
As the match neared its conclusion, Worcester laid siege to the Gloucester line. Replacement Paul Warwick was inches short before Jonny May was yellow carded for taking Chris Pennell out in the air, but the home side held on for a crucial win.
Pens: Twelvetrees 4
Yellow card: May
Pens: Mieres 2
Yellow card: Carpentier
Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Mike Tindall, 11 Jonny May, 10 Billy Twelvetrees (c), 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Matt Cox, 5 James Hudson, 4 Elliott Stooke, 3 Sila Puafisi, 2 Darren Dawidiuk, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Huia Edmonds, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Tom Hicks, 20 Akapusi Qera, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Martyn Thomas
Worcester: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 James Stephenson, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Ravai Fatiaki, 11 Josh Drauniniu, 10 Ignacio Mieres, 9 Jeremy Su'a,8 Jonathan Thomas (c), 7 Sam Betty, 6 Richard de Carpentier, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 James Percival, 3 Rob O'Donnell, 2 Chris Brooker, 1 Ofa Fainga'anuku.
Replacements: 16 Ed Shervington, 17 Jeremy Becasseau, 18 John Andress, 19 Chris Jones, 20 Leonardo Senatore, 21 Paul Hodgson, 22 Paul Warwick, 23 Andy Symons.
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant referees: Nigel Carrick, Roy Maybank
Television match official: David Grashoff