European Challenge Cup: Worcester 22-34 Gloucester

Henry Purdy
Henry Purdy joined Gloucester from Leicester Tigers in 2014
European Challenge Cup
Worcester (10) 22
Tries: Hammond, Daniels, O'Shea Cons: Lamb 2 Drop Goals: Lamb
Gloucester (10) 34
Tries: Purdy 2, Cook, McColl, Twelvetrees Cons: Laidlaw 3 Pens: Laidlaw

Gloucester made it three wins from three in the European Challenge Cup with a bonus-point win at Worcester.

Visiting winger Henry Purdy responded to Dean Hammond's opening try for the hosts to make it 10-10 at half-time.

Purdy's second try was soon followed by Rob Cook going over as last year's winners began to take control.

Mike Daniels closed the gap but Stephen McColl and Billy Twelvetrees went over to secure Gloucester's victory, before Darren O'Shea's late consolation try.

The first match between these two sides in the competition since Gloucester beat Worcester 31-23 in the 2006 semi-finals was watched by England coach Eddie Jones.

The visitors went ahead through Laidlaw's penalty before Worcester hit back with a great free-flowing move from left to right, finished off by Hammond who cut inside and rolled over, allowing Ryan Lamb to add the extras.

Laidlaw's second penalty attempt fell short but he was accurate soon after with the conversion after Purdy had collected centre Mark Atkinson's clever kick to go over.

Lamb's drop-goal for Worcester levelled it up again by half-time but then Purdy charged through to dive over for his second try before Billy Burns' great pass set up Cook to run in at the left corner, as Gloucester opened up a 12-point lead.

Gloucester's Lewis Ludlow was then shown a yellow card for collapsing the maul and the hosts took advantage immediately when Daniels drive over and Lamb's conversion went over off the left-hand post.

The visitors sealed their third Pool 4 win from three when Laidlaw brilliantly set up McColl and a fantastic cross-field kick from Burns was pounced on by Twelvetrees, before O'Shea's try rounded off the scoring.

Warriors head coach Carl Hogg told BBC Hereford & Worcester:

"It's going to be very difficult now to progress. It's very disappointing. The endeavour was outstanding, but we asked ourselves to defend for too long periods.

"We tried to play fast off set pieces as we thought we could stretch them, as did with Dean Hammond's try.

"This European Cup is a great learning curve for us and some of the younger players will benefit from the experience.

"But it's back to back games against Gloucester and next Thursday night at Kingsholm will now be about restoring a little bit of pride."

Gloucester director of rugby David Humphreys told BBC Gloucestershire:

"The days of talking about easy games are long gone. It's about establishing field position and making the opposition make lots of tackles, which we did in the first half.

"Early on we made some poor decisions and coughed the ball up. Once we recognised how they were defending and adapted to it, we picked some good lines and were rewarded with the tries.

"In the last few weeks there have been a lot of questions about selection. Our answer never changes. We pick a team to win the match.

"At the moment we have 40 players available and the depth in our squad is coming through."

Worcester Warriors: Howard; Hammond, Grove, Symons, Biggs; Lamb, Mulchrone (capt); Bregvadze, Milasinovich, Sanderson, O'Shea, Cox, Kirwan, Mama.

Replacements: Sowrey, Rapava Ruskin, Daniels, Barry, Betty, Arr, Eden, Stelling.

Gloucester: McColl; Halaifonua, Trinder, Atkinson, Purdy; Burns, Laidlaw (capt); Wood, Lindsay, Doran-Jones, Stooke, Galarza, Kalamafoni, Rowan, Ludlow.

Replacements: Dawidiuk, Yann Thomas, Nicky Thomas, Hicks, Dan Thomas, Braley, Twelvetrees, Cook.

Sin Bin: Ludlow (62).

Attendance: 7,200

Referee: Alex Ruiz (France).

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