21st May, 2019

Worries for Ryan as Wasps thump Warriors

Worcester Editorial 28th Sep, 2015 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

THIS may have been a pre-season fixture with nothing other than bragging rights riding on the first ever Midlands derby between them.

But the way in which Wasps tore apart Warriors in the second half will no doubt sting director of rugby Dean Ryan and his players.

With less than three weeks to go before the start of the season, this was a chance for Worcester to showcase their Aviva Premiership credentials.

But after a promising first 30 minutes, the hosts had no answers to Wasps who racked up seven tries in a dominant display, which Ryan admitted was a harsh lesson for his side.

“That’s the first time we have played and there are a number of things we can do better,” he said.

“I am really pleased with the effort, but there are concerns around lineout and a little bit of concern about naivety in our own half.

“You can just see at this level that if you make a mistake, it is probably going to cost you seven points.

“I think we showed high energy for that first 15-20 minutes and if we had held field position I think we would have posed some problems.

“But the fact of the matter is we didn’t and we have just got to learn from that.”

Ryan handed debuts to Wynand Olivier, Darren Barry and Marco Mama, but they quickly found themselves behind the posts as Jimmy Gopperth dispatched a penalty inside the opening five minutes.

Warriors got back on level terms with a penalty from Tom Heathcote who was drafted into the starting line-up after Ryan Lamb called in sick.

But Wasps deservedly got the opening try when a well-executed driving maul saw Thomas Young crash over.

Gopperth added the extras and it was the fly half who was Wasps’ spark of inspiration as he wriggled his way through tackles, but his opposite number, Heathcote, was looking equally composed.

His kick to the corner led to Warriors’ first try as Sam Lewis burrowed over following a catch and drive. Heathcote landed the touchline conversion to level things up at 10-10.

Worcester appeared to be growing into the match, with Charlie Mulchrone and Heathcote combining well at half back and centre pairing Olivier and Alex Grove putting their bodies on the line.

But with four minutes left of the first half, Wasps broke Warriors’ resistance on two occasions to turn the tie in their favour.

Firstly, Rob Miller pierced the defence before setting up James Gaskell for a try under the posts before a rare mistake from Chris Pennell led to Wasps’ second.

The England full back lost the ball after being tackled by Christian Wade and the visitors made him pay for it as Josh Bassett exploited space on the left.

Gopperth added two extra points to leave Warriors trailing 24-10 and matters got worse after the break.

Although Heathcote slotted home two kicks to close the gap, Wasps found an extra gear, which Worcester could not cope with as Wade eased over.

Front rowers Jake Cooper-Woolley and Simon McIntyre then combined for try number five before Miller showed neat footwork for a superb solo score.

Ruaridh Jackson converted to extend his side’s lead to 45-16, but Warriors still plucked up the courage to hit back with two tries themselves.

Ben Howard got his second try in as many matches before Worcester broke down the left, with Ravai Fatiaki, and Tom Biggs then found Jonny Arr who sprinted clear to score.

But Wasps completed the rout when Jackson converted Bassett’s second try after he went in under the posts.

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