There was late drama at Sixways, as Worcester Warriors scored in the 98th minute to secure a 21-19 victory against Bath Rugby.
It was a cagey start to the game, with Worcester dominating the early exchanges. However, it was Bath who got the first points of the game when Worcester were penalised for offside just outside their 22. Freddie Burns pointed to the uprights and gave his side an early three-point lead inside 10 minutes. [0-3]
The visitors increased their lead with six minutes later. Bath were awarded a penalty mid-way inside the Worcester half after Sam Lewis was penalised at the scrum. Burns made no mistake from the tee and in doing so doubled his side's lead. [0-6]
After Michael Fatialofa was shown a yellow card on the 19th minute mark for a shoulder charge on Tom Ellis, Bath kept the scoreboard ticking over. After putting pressure in the 22, Worcester conceded another penalty for going off their feet at the breakdown. Burns added another successful penalty kick, to give the Blue, Black and White a nine-point lead going into the second quarter. [0-9]
Worcester responded with a penalty of their own six minutes later, as Duncan Weir reduced arrears with his first kick at goal of the afternoon. [3-9]
Bath looked to have scored the first try of the game eight minutes from the interval with superb breakaway move. Jamie Roberts sent a looping pass to James Wilson who made a good break before finding Cooper Vuna outside him. The winger in turn charged into the 22 before sending the ball back inside to Wilson who looked like he'd gone over the whitewash. However, after consultation with the TMO, the referee disallowed the try with Ted Hill providing the crucial intervention.
It wasn't long before Bath did get their reward, as they continued to pile on the pressure at the resulting scrum. A couple phases later, Zach Mercer bundled his way over from close range to score. Burns continued his 100% record, extending the visitors lead to 13 points with six minutes left to play in the half. [3-16]
Three minutes later Bath were awarded another penalty and Burns duly added the routine conversion from in front of the sticks.
Half-time – Worcester Warriors 3-19 Bath Rugby
The first points of the second half came after 48 minutes and they went Worcester’s way. After Bath for a high tackle, Weir doubled his tally for the afternoon with another successful penalty attempt. [6-19]
Worcester stepped up the gears in the second half and the momentum began to shift the way of the home side. With 58 minutes played, Francois Venter made a devastating break on the left flank, drawing the last man before offloading to Heem on his left shoulder. The Worcester winger ran in to reduce the gap to eight points going into the final quarter. [11-19]
With just over 15 minutes to play, Bath were reduced to 14 men when Ian Tempest showed Ross Batty a red card for a neck roll at the breakdown.
With the man advantage, Worcester continued to ramp up the pressure with the prolific Weir adding another penalty to put his side within touching distance on the scoreboard. [14-19]
With three minutes to play of normal time, Worcester went for the corner, as they sought out the crucial score. A series of scrums followed before replacement Max Lahiff was sent to the sin-bin. With the numerical advantage, Worcester continued to test the resolve of the Bath scrum and another yellow card followed. This time, it was Lucas Noguera, who was shown his marching orders. Jacques van Rooyen and Henry Thomas returned to the field to take the front row up to its full complement.
After holding up a 94th minute scrum, it appeared that Aled Brew may have made the telling tackle to bring the game to a halt. However, the flurry of cards continued as Tempest pulled the yellow card from his pocket for offside to leave Bath with 11 going into another scrum.
With 98 minutes on the clock, Worcester used the numbers out wide from the scrum, and Heem ran in to score his second of the game. Weir successfully converted to give the Warriors the most dramatic of victories. [21-19]
Full-time – Worcester Warriors 21-19 Bath Rugby
5 January 2019
Referee: Ian Tempest
Half Time score: 3-19
- Tries: Heem (57, 97)
- Conversions: Weir (98)
- Penalties: Weir (27, 47, 66)
- Tries: Mercer (32)
- Conversions: Burns (33)
- Penalties: Burns (8, 16, 20, 37)