Harlequins 21 - 20 Worcester: Smith sinks new side

SAM Smith, who has agreed to join bottom-of-the-table Worcester in the summer, sunk his future club as Harlequins came from 13-0 down to deny Warriors a first win of the season.
Nick Kennedy of Harlequins in action against Worcester Warriors. Picture: GettyNick Kennedy of Harlequins in action against Worcester Warriors. Picture: Getty
Nick Kennedy of Harlequins in action against Worcester Warriors. Picture: Getty

The 23-year-old winger scored a try and then created a second for debutant centre Harry Sloan as Quins, trailing until the 63rd minute, rallied to inflict a 16th successive Aviva Premiership defeat on Worcester. Stand-off Ben Botica, stand-in for the injured Nick Evans, kicked Quins’ other 11 points.

Worcester had opened up a 13-0 lead with a penalty from full-back Chris Pennell, a scintillating try from winger David Lemi and a conversion and penalty from stand off Ryan Lamb, making his first start since his arrival from Leicester. Pennell’s late try and conversion earned them a losing bonus point.

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Pennell kicked Worcester into a fourth-minute lead after Quins were penalised for a scrum infringement. Lemi then beat three men in a run down the left before being hauled down as he cut inside.

Quins’ former England winger Ugo Monye was sin-binned for illegally interfering at the breakdown but Pennell saw the resulting penalty rebound off a post.

Lamb took over the kicking duties when Harlequins strayed offside in the 18th minute but pulled a simple penalty wide.

The stand off elected to go for touch rather than goal when Quins conceded their sixth penalty of the first half and the catch and drive at the lineout resulted in an easier kick when the home side dragged down Worcester’s rolling maul near their line. This time Lamb made no mistake.

Lemi put Warriors further ahead with an opportunist try after 31 minutes. Snatching the ball from the base of a ruck, he spotted a gap in the Harlequins defence and darted through to score between the posts, leaving Lamb an easy conversion.

Worcester defended stoutly but failed to hold on to their 13-0 lead until half-time.

With a minute of the half left, they conceded a penalty at a scrum in front of their own posts and Botica opened his side’s account.

Harlequins began the second half in a much more purposeful manner with scrum-half Karl Dickson racing 50 metres through the middle after taking a quick tap penalty.

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Worcester conceded another penalty preventing Dickson from recycling the ball and Botica kicked his second penalty three minutes into the second half.

Botica put two penalties into touch as Quins continued to press and the next one saw Worcester’s Argentinian replacement Leonardo Senatore, who had only come on for Sam Betty a minute earlier, sin-binned for collapsing a maul.

The depleted visitors were quickly stretched to breaking point when Dickson’s long pass found Stuart, who forced his way over in the 
right-hand corner. But Botica missed what could have been an equalising conversion.

Another Warriors infringement at the breakdown saw Worcester fall behind for the first time when Botica kicked his third penalty after 63 minutes.

The visitors fell further behind when Smith linked up on the left to send 2013 IRB Junior World Cup winner Sloan in for his try.

Worcester lost Senatore with a suspected dislocated shoulder but fought to the end and salvaged a losing bonus point when Pennell cut through the Harlequins defence for a 75th-minute try, which he converted.

Saints sink Gloucester to extend record run and hit top spot

Scrum dominance sparked Northampton to a 39-13 bonus-point victory over Gloucester to extend their club-record unbeaten Aviva Premiership run to 13 games.

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Saints climbed back to the top of the table with their five-try win, replacing Saracens, who had led the standings courtesy of Friday’s

victory at Bath. Ken Pisi, Calum Clark, pictured, Tom Stephenson, Alex Waller and Will Hooley scored for Saints as they cut loose in the second half. Henry Trinder’s try and a conversion and two penalties for Freddie Burns had Gloucester level at 13-13, before Clark, pictured, plundered the pivotal score just before the hour.

In a turgid contest littered with errors on both sides, Northampton’s ability to keep their scrum tidy proved decisive. When both sides sent their front-row cavalry replacements into action just before the hour, the hosts claimed immediate profit. Clark’s inevitable try after two penalty line-outs killed the visiting resistance and, when Stephenson crossed 10 minutes later the result was sealed.

Sale took a significant step towards European qualification by defeating Wasps 21-17 at Adams Park.

The Sharks remain in sixth position in the Aviva Premiership but, crucially, they have extended their lead over Wasps, who are in seventh place, by a further three points, which leaves them with a handy eight-point advantage over their nearest rivals.

The controversial moment of the game came in the 10th minute with the sin-binning of Joe Simpson.

The Wasps scrum-half high tackled Nick Macleod, who took no further part in the game. The incident was reviewed and a yellow card was awarded but Simpson may have been fortunate not to pick up a red.

Sale scored a decisive 10 points in Simpson’s absence. Danny Cipriani kicking a penalty and a conversion to add to Dan Braid’s try before Wasps rallied to score 17 unanswered points. Joe Carlisle kicked four penalties before Simpson raced away for his side’s only try.

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The final quarter saw the Sale pack dominate and they recovered from 17-10 down with an unconverted Jonny Leota try before Cipriani kicked over two penalties in the final 20 minutes.

Exeter Chiefs saw their run of five straight defeats – their worst run in the competition – come to an end as they completed a season double over London Irish, who were denied a score for the first time this season in an 18-0 defeat.

The home side led 6-0 at the break through two Henry Slade penalties, while James O’Connor saw his one attempt at the post rebound back but the visitors were reduced to 14 men midway through the half, with prop Leo Halavatau shown yellow.

The Chiefs added two further tries in the second half with Phil Dollman’s touchdown – converted by Slade – and an Ian Whitten effort, although their resolve was tested when they had Ben White yellow carded for a tip tackle on the hour.

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