AFTER the appointment of Gary Gold as the club’s new Director of Rugby in midweek, Warriors failed to impress the new chief with a narrow loss to Harlequins in the Anglo-Welsh Cup at Sixways on Saturday.
The hosts, who made 11 changes from their victory over Enisei-STM, started the game with real intent and were soon off the mark when Wynand Olivier burst through the defence to ground.
Worcester were playing with high tempo and soon added their second try when Kiwi Jackson Willison teed up fellow New Zealander Bryce Heem to dot down under the posts.
But Harlequins hit back before half-time through Charlie Walker, who skipped his way through the Warriors pack in midfield before crossing the whitewash untouched.
Entering the second-half, the Sixways outfit bagged their third try of the afternoon when USA international Joe Taufete’e crashed over from a maul on Quins’ tryline.
The visitors reduced the deficit to five points when Charlie Matthews intercepted a Warriors pass in midfield, before making no mistake in cruising across the tryline with ease.
Harlequins took the lead for the first time on the hour-mark, when Alofa Alofa darted down the left flank to ground and open up a 21-19 advantage.
Alofa then dived over again to bag his second of the game and claim the narrow win for Quins.
Following kick-off, Warriors put Harlequins under immediate pressure as they bullied their way forward time and again, eventually resulting in Oliver dancing round the visitors’ defence and powering his way over the tryline, which Ryan Mills converted.
It wasn’t long before Warriors scored their second try of the afternoon when Willison broke free down the left flank and fed Heem, who strolled in under the posts to set-up and easy conversion for Mills.
The visitors had the chance to reply with a long-range penalty kick, but fly-half Ruaridh Jackson’s attempt sailed wide of the posts.
But Quins started to get a foothold in the game and after a spell of pressure, Walker weaved his way round Ben Howard for an easy route to the tryline, which Jackson converted.
Mills had the chance to extend the hosts’ seven-point advantage with a penalty on the the stoke of half-time, but the fly-half’s effort from the halfway line cannoned off the left post.
After the interval, Warriors picked up from where they left off in the first-half as hooker Taufete’e crept over the tryline following a driving maul.
But Harlequins replied once again, this time through Matthews who intercepted a Warriors pass in midfield, before bolting under the posts to set-up another Jackson conversion.
The game then swung in the visitors’ favour, as Alofa found space down the left flank to dot down, which Jackson converted to edge Quins ahead 21-19.
That lead didn’t last long though, as Mills successfully converted his first penalty of the game to regain his side the advantage.
But Harlequins had the ascendency now and crossed again through Alofa, who squeezed over the line following a scrum.
Jackson missed a late penalty for the visitors, but Warriors failed to take their opportunities as the clock wound down.
Warriors continue their Anglo-Welsh Cup campaign with a trip to Wales to take on Cardiff Blues at the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday (Kick-off 3pm).