Worcester win at Harlequins

Date published: March 19 2016

Worcester secured their third straight win in the Premiership after defeating Harlequins 21-15 at The Stoop.

The opening quarter was dominated by the accurate kicking of fly-halves Ben Botica and Tom Heathcote, who scored two penalties apiece.

However, it was Worcester who controlled the rest of the period and deservedly touched down twice before the interval through Wynand Olivier and GJ van Velze.

Botica did reduce the arrears with a third effort off the tee but the visitors went into the break with an 18-9 advantage.

The Quins’ pivot then added two three-pointers to Heathcote’s one in the second half, but it wasn’t enough as the Warriors recorded a priceless win.

Conor O’Shea’'s men have struggled over recent times but managed to reaffirm their play-off credentials following a much needed victory over Bath last week.

They took that confidence into their match against Worcester, but Dean Ryan’s side were determined to make the hosts work for their points.

Botica did kick an early penalty but Quins found it difficult to penetrate the visiting defence and it was the Warriors who were the more dangerous with ball in hand.

Successive three-pointers via Heathcote were the Midlanders rewards before the home team’s stand-off levelled matters.

But the Warriors remained on the front foot and deservedly went ahead. Francois Hougaard was organising proceedings superbly from half-back and, after a period of pressure inside the opposition 22, Olivier eventually broke through to score.

Following that try, Harlequins made a number of mistakes and one such error from wing Henry Cheeseman allowed van Velze to scamper across the whitewash unopposed.

Botica's third three-pointer kept the London-based outfit in contention at the break and they opened the second period with intent to eat into that deficit further.

Dave Ward was particularly lively but they failed to take those opportunities and Worcester’'s buffer remained at nine going into the final quarter.

With just 14 minutes to go, Quins did bring themselves to within losing bonus-point territory after their pivot’s fourth successful effort off the tee.

However, the hosts struggled to truly assert their authority on the game and a Heathcote penalty eased the Warriors further ahead.

Although Botica once again gave O’Shea’s men hope, Ryan’'s side held on and justifiably emerged victorious in another big step in their battle for survival.

The scorers:

For Harlequins:
Pens: Botica 5

For Worcester:
Tries: Olivier, Van Velze
Con: Heathcote
Pens: Heathcote 3

Harlequins: 15 Ross Chisholm, 14 Charlie Walker, 13 George Lowe, 12 Harry Sloan, 11 Henry Cheeseman, 10 Ben Botica, 9 Karl Dickson, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Mat Luamanu, 5 Sam Twomey, 4 James Horwill(c), 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Dave Ward, 1 Mark Lambert  
Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Owen Evans, 18 Will Collier, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 James Chisholm, 21 Tito Tebaldi, 22 Joe Marchant, 23 Ollie LindsayHague

Worcester: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Wynand Olivier, 12 Ryan Mills, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Tom Heathcote, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 GJ van Velze (c), 7 Carl Kirwan, 6 Phil Dowson, 5 Darren Barry, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Niall Annett, 1 Val Rapava Ruskin
Replacements: 16 Ben Sowrey, 17 Na'ama Leleimalefaga, 18 James Johnston, 19 Dan Sanderson, 20 Sam Betty, 21 Luke Baldwin, 22 Ryan Lamb, 23 Andy Symons

Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant Referees: Nigel Carrick, Simon McConnell
TMO: Keith Lewis