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Warriors power through to Championship final

Warriors power through to Championship final

Worcester Warriors underlined why they are many people's favourites to bounce straight back up to the Premiership this evening following a clinical 38-15 win over London Scottish at Sixways in this Championship play-off, second leg, semi-final.

Worcester Warriors underlined why they are many people’s favourites to bounce straight back up to the Premiership this evening following a clinical 38-15 win over London Scottish at Sixways in this Championship play-off, second leg, semi-final.

It completed a 65-37 aggregate victory for Dean Ryan’s side and sealed Worcester’s place in the play-off final where they will face either Bristol Rugby or Rotherham Titans over two-legs.

MPU

The hosts scored four tries to Scottish’s two in a decent encounter despite poor overhead conditions with Worcester’s brace of tries early in the second half ultimately proving decisive.

Despite this evening's result and the 28 point margin over two legs, it has been another season of progress for London Scottish.

Their maiden appearance in the end of season play-offs was secured with two rounds of the regular season to go.

They finished third in the Championship table, continuing the sequence of always finishing higher, in terms of league position, than the previous year since 1999, when Scottish were demoted eight divisions.

During this campaign, skipper Mark Bright smashed the all-time Championship try scoring record for a single season.

Bright scored an astonishing 26 tries from number eight, including back-to-back hat-tricks in September and a brace in the semi-final, first leg last weekend.

However, the 36-year-old wasn’t able to add to his try scoring tally tonight as the Warriors marched into the Championship final.

 


It was the visitors who got off to the perfect start inside 10 minutes.

After Worcester 15 Ben Howard took the ball back into his own deadball area, the Scots had a great attacking opportunity from the resulting scrum five.

Scrum-half Jamie Stevenson broke to the blindside, drawing in a couple of defenders, before feeding winger Matt Williams on the right touchline who dived over in the corner.

Peter Lydon missed the tough conversion but already the Scots were back level on aggregate.

Ryan Lamb moved Worcester three points ahead on aggregate with a penalty on 14 minutes.

Lamb stroked over his second penalty soon after to push Worcester 6-5 in front on the night.

It got better for the hosts on the half mark when flanker Sam Lewis was at the tail of an attacking drive from a line-out, his forwards helping him crash over the whitewash.

Lamb’s conversion from the left touchline was good, making it 13-5.

Lydon reduced this to 13-8 three minutes later with a well struck penalty and just before half time PJ Gidlow put midfield partner Kieran Moffat through a gap inside the Scottish half.

Outside centre Moffat then found Lydon who fed left winger Mike Doneghan.

The forwards quickly recycled possession, ground their way to the line, before the ball was eventually turned over by Worcester and booted to safety.

The start of the second 40 was always going to be crucial and it was the Warriors who turned to screw scoring two quickfire tries.

First Dean Hammond cruised home under the sticks after a fine break by fellow winger Cooper Vuna, Lamb kicking the simple conversion, before Worcester number eight GJ Van Velze went over after good work by his pack from an attacking line-out – pushing them 22 points ahead on aggregate.

This was reduced to 15 points almost immediately when Lydon went over for Scottish’s second try, the Irishmen then converting his own score for 25-15 (52-37).

Warriors had strengthened their pack for the second leg and their powerful line-out drive was causing Scottish all sorts of problems.

This manifested itself in Worcester scoring their fourth try just before the hour mark, Lewis helped over the line by his pack for his second of the evening.

Lamb’s conversion eased them 22 points ahead again on aggregate before Scots lock Josh Thomas Brown was shown a yellow card for pulling down another devastating Worcester drive.

Bright was sin-binned for the same offence on 77 minutes with Lamb’s third successful penalty of the night, quickly followed by a fourth, rounding off a successful nights work for his side.


London Scottish: 15, Peter Lydon, 14, Matt Williams, 13, Kieran Moffat, 12, PJ Gidlow, 11, Mike Doneghan, 10, Dan Newton, 9, Jamie Stevenson, 1, Mark Lilley, 2, Adam Kwasnicki, 3, Ben Prescott, 4, James Phillips, 5, Josh Thomas Brown, 6,  Gregor Gillanders, 7, Neil Best, 8, Mark Bright (c).

Used replacements: 16, D’arcy Rae, 17, James Stephenson, 18, Lewis Ludlow, 19, James Chisholm, 21, Matt Heeks, 22, Lee Millar.

Unused replacements: 20, Chris Walker.

Penalties: Lydon, 33mins.

Tries: Williams, 7mins, Lydon, 51mins.

Conversions: Lydon, 51mins.

Yellow Cards: Josh Thomas Brown, Mark Bright.

Worcester Warriors: 15, Ben Howard, 14, Dean Hammond, 13, Alex Grove, 12, Ryan Mills, 11, Cooper Vuna, 10, Ryan Lamb, 9, JB Bruzulier, 1, Val Rapava Ruskin, 2, Agustin Creevy, 3, Nick Schonert, 4, James Percival, 5,  Jonathan Thomas, 6, Mike Williams, 7, Sam Lewis, 8, GJ van Velze (c).

Used replacements: 22, Tom Biggs, 16, Niall Annett, 17, Ofa Fainga'anuku, 20, Jamie Shillcock.

Unused replacements: 18, Joe Rees, 19, Matt Cox, 21, Ravai Fatiaki.

Penalties: Lamb, 14 mins, 19mins, 77mins, 79mins.

Tries: Lewis, 30mins, Hammond, 41mins, Van Velze, 44mins, Lewis, 59mins.

Conversions: Lamb, 30mins, 41mins, 59mins.

Referee: Ian Tempest.

Assistants: Paul Dix and Richard Kelly.

Fourth Official: Thomas Foley

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