Worcester celebrated their return to the English top flight with a 17-12 victory on Saturday, as they beat Sale Sharks at Sixways Stadium.
Worcester Warriors celebrated their return to the English top flight with an impressive 17-12 victory on Saturday, overcoming Sale at Sixways Stadium.
An early penalty goal from Nick Macleod gave Sale the lead, which they held for nearly the entire first period.
Macleod then extended the advantage with a drop-goal on 38 minutes and the Sharks looked to be heading in to half-time on top.
But on the stroke of half-time Worcester carved out space for Miles Benjamin to cross in the corner. The conversion was added by Andy Goode, whose seven points on the day would see him surpass Jonny Wilkinson as the second highest all-time Premiership points scorer behind Charlie Hodgson.
The goal also gave the Warriors a lead that they would not lose for the rest of the match.
Goode missed his third penalty of the afternoon early in the second half but by then the writing appeared to be on the wall for Sale, who were struggling to compete in the scrum.
And on 52 minutes Worcester got the score their dominance deserved, when referee David Rose awarded a penalty try following an infringement at the scrum close to the Sharks' line. Goode added the conversion to give Worcester a 14-6 lead, although a Macleod penalty shortly after reduced the arrears.
Worcester restored their six point advantage with another penalty, before Macleod, who had missed already missed two crucial kicks at goal, responded in kind.
Tries: Benjamin, Penalty
Con: Goode 2
Pen: Macleod 3
Worcester: 15 Errie Claassens, 14 Marcel Garvey, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Dale Rasmussen, 11 Miles Benjamin, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Shaun Perry, 8 Kai Horstmann (c), 7 Jake Abbott, 6 Neil Best, 5 Craig Gillies, 4 James Percival, 3 Tevita Taumoepeau, 2 Ed Shervington, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Chris Fortey, 17 George Porter, 18 Bruce Douglas, 19 Chris Jones, 20 Matt Kvesic, 21 Jonny Arr, 22 Joe Carlisle, 23 Chris Pennell.
Sale Sharks: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Andrew Higgins, 12 Will Addison, 11 Joaquin Tuculet, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Mark Easter, 7 David Seymour (c), 6 James Gaskell, 5 Fraser McKenzie, 4 Kearnan Myall, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Joe Ward, 1 Lee Imiolek.
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Aston Croall, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Tom Holmes, 20 Neil Briggs, 21 Scott Mathie, 22 Kyle Tonetti, 23 Charlie Amesbury.
Referee: David Rose