War­riors’ con­quest

Worces­ter storm back to beat 11-man Bath an amaz­ing 18 min­utes into added time

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Front Page - By James Lloyd at Sixways

The clock showed 98 min­utes when Dun­can Weir stepped up with the last kick of this ex­traor­di­nary game to give his Worces­ter side a price­less vic­tory over 11-man Bath.

Weir con­verted Bryce Heem’s sec­ond try of the af­ter­noon as the War­riors fi­nally made the most of their nu­mer­i­cal ad­van­tage in one of the more re­mark­able fin­ishes the Gallagher Premier­ship has seen. By that stage Bath – who led 19-3 at half-time – had hooker Ross Batty sent off and Max Lahiff, Lu­cas Noguera and Aled Brew all fol­lowed him to the side­lines af­ter be­ing shown yel­low cards.

It al­lowed Heem to tie the scores and Scot­land in­ter­na­tional Weir nailed the con­ver­sion to steal what could prove to be a vi­tal Worces­ter suc­cess in their bat­tle to avoid rel­e­ga­tion.

War­riors direc­tor of rugby Alan Solomons said: “I’ve not seen any­thing like that. I’ve been coach­ing for a long time and I’ve seen it go both ways at the death. It went on and on, but the boys held in there and Dun­can held his nerve with the kick.

“It’s go­ing to do a lot for the con­fi­dence of the play­ers. We were in trou­ble at half time, so to come back and win means we can draw pos­i­tives. The Premier­ship is a marathon, not a sprint. It was im­por­tant to get this win and come out of this block with points. There is a long way to go and we know that the com­pe­ti­tion is very tight.”

Bath direc­tor of rugby Todd Black­ad­der la­belled ref­eree Ian Tem­pest’s de­ci­sion-mak­ing “in­ter­est­ing” af­ter his team con­ceded 14 sec­ond-half penal­ties to Worces­ter’s one and had four play­ers carded.

“It’s a new one and I’ve not been in­volved in some­thing like that be­fore,” Black­ad­der said. We’ll go back and have a look at it all and try and work out what the hell hap­pened. I can un­der­stand some of the de­ci­sions, but oth­ers will be very in­ter­est­ing to have an­other look at. Aled’s yel­low card was for off­side, but if it was cyn­i­cal it should have been a penalty try so that’s in­ter­est­ing. Some of the penal­ties we de­served as they put us un­der pres­sure.”

Bath were good value for their 19-3 in­ter­val lead. Fred­die Burns kicked three early penal­ties to one from Weir as Worces­ter’s Michael Fa­tialofa saw yel­low. Zach Mercer crossed on 33 min­utes fol­low­ing fine ap­proach work from Jamie Roberts. Burns con­verted and kicked a fourth penalty

Bath threw away their lead in the sec­ond half as they failed to score an­other point, yet the War­riors were a dif­fer­ent beast and Weir kicked a goal af­ter Fran­cois Louw tack­led Heem high. Solomons’ men soon got fur­ther re­ward. Fran­cois Ven­ter and Chris Pen­nell com­bined to send Heem over, but Weir could not con­vert. The game then flipped in the 64th minute when re­place­ment Bath hooker Batty was sent off for a neck roll on Sam Lewis, who landed on his head.

Weir added a penalty min­utes later to put the hosts within a con­verted score of finding an un­likely win. It was one they even­tu­ally man­aged in the most dra­matic of cir­cum­stances.

Worces­ter had scrum af­ter scrum on the Bath line and Tem­pest yel­low­carded props Lahiff and Noguera for set-piece in­fringe­ments. Brew then fol­lowed them af­ter com­mit­ting a des­per­ate off­side tackle. It gave Worces­ter enough space to go wide from an­other scrum and Heem fin­ished coolly. Weir’s con­ver­sion se­cured Worces­ter’s first Premier­ship win in four matches and took them four points clear of New­cas­tle at the foot of the ta­ble.

Solomons, who has faced crit­i­cism for rest­ing Ben Te’o, added praise for the Eng­land cen­tre as he con­tin­ues to build up to match fit­ness with the Six Na­tions around the cor­ner. “Ben is a good lad,” said Solomons. “We had to do the right thing for him. He came off the back of three heavy Test matches and he had to have a break. He did re­ally well ver­sus Sara­cens last weekend and well again this week. He’s putting it in for the team and he’s a fine player.”

What a feel­ing: Dun­can Weir cel­e­brates land­ing the win­ning con­ver­sion

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