Planet Rugby

Worcester down the Exiles

06th February 2010 18:12

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Mapusua crunched

No semi-final for you: Seilala Mapusua feels the force of a Worcester tackle

Worcester gave London Irish team a defeat in the LV= Cup on Saturday, winning 19-9 with a solid display and costing a semi-final spot.

Worcester, who were already out of the competition before kick-off, looked the more inventive team throughout the afternoon as they warmed up for a big Guinness Premiership clash at high-flying Saracens next weekend.

The Worcester dominance started during the first half as they grabbed a neat try and could have had another three as the Exiles defence struggled.

The try came moments after Worcester missed a wide-open chance when wing Marcel Garvey got the better of opposite number Topsy Ojo on the left.

However, with no Irish defence covering, full-back Chris Latham could not control the loose ball and the chance was lost.

Centre Dale Rasmussen set up that opening try as he roared through a gap in the Irish midfield and, on reaching the 22, sent over wing Chris Pennell on the right.

Kiwi fly-half Willie Walker converted before opposite number Ryan Lamb reduced the deficit with an excellent 42-metre penalty.

Ojo was again at fault when he failed to catch a Walker cross-field kick ahead of centre Greg King but former England flanker Pat Sanderson dropped the ball and the great chance went begging.

It was tough for Irish before the break as they failed to capitalise on turnover ball given up by the opposition and never reached try-scoring territory.

The Exiles looked lacklustre and their scrum creaked at times. Worcester should have had a second try when they had three attacking set-pieces on the Irish line but opted to throw the ball into midfield and gave up yet another turnover as a result.

Lamb made Worcester pay for indiscipline near the half-time whistle with his second penalty but that was cancelled out on the stroke of the break by Walker, who added another two on the resumption and looked to have effectively ended any hope of further progress for the Londoners.

Irish did not help themselves either as they found themselves down to 14 men when Lamb was stupidly sin-binned for back-chatting to referee David Bodilly.

The Exiles needed to win the game and to score four tries in the final 15 minutes to have any chance of reaching the semi-finals.

But, even when full-back Peter Hewatt thumped over their third penalty and Irish introduced former England talismen Mike Catt and Peter Richards off the bench, their spark remained missing.

Worcester's own faults, namely self-inflicted infringements at rucks that gave away clearing penalties to the opposition, gave them little to show for the territory they had in the last quarter.

Their one try-scoring chance of the half came in the last minute when replacement fly-half Matthew Jones tapped a quick penalty, danced through the opposition and was brought down just a metre from scoring.

But at least it was a win for the Warriors as Irish look towards a clash with Bath in the Premiership next week to climb the league table.

The scorers:

For Worcester:
Try: Pennell
Con: Walker
Pens: Walker 3, Tuitupou

For London Irish:
Pens: Lamb 2, Hewat

Worcester: 15 Chris Latham, 14 Chris Pennell, 13 Dale Rasmussen, 12 Greg King, 11 Marcel Garvey, 10 Willie Walker, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Kai Horstmann, 7 Pat Sanderson (capt), 6 Chris Cracknell, 5 Craig Gillies, 4 Greg Rawlinson, 3 Tevita Taumoepeau, 2 Aleki Lutui, 1 Adam Black.
Replacements: 16 Matt Mullan, 17 Chris Fortey, 18 Olivier Sourgens, 19 Will Bowley, 20 James Collins, 21 Ryan Powell, 22 Matthew Jones, 23 Rico Gear.

London Irish: 15 Peter Hewat (capt), 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Elvis Seveali'i, 12 Seilala Mapusua, 11 John Rudd, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Alfredo Lalanne, 8 Kieran Roche, 7 Richard Thorpe, 6 Gary Johnson, 5 Andy Perry, 4 Matt Garvey, 3 Faan Rautenbach, 2 James Buckland, 1 Dan Murphy.
Replacements: 16 Danie Coetzee, 17 Clarke Dermody, 18 James Tideswell, 19 Kieran Low, 20 Jamie Gibson, 21 Chris Malone, 22 Peter Richards,,23 Jamie Lennard.

Referee: David Bodilly (Wales)
Assistant referees: Don Helme (England), Paul Burton (England)
Television match official: Laurie Bryant (England)

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