Premiership: Worcester Warriors 41-24 Bristol
|Worcester (31) 41|
|Tries: Penalty try, Hougaard, Spencer, Heem 2, Olivier Cons: Mills 4 Pen: Mills|
|Bristol (10) 24|
|Tries: Woodward, Crumpton, Varndell Cons: Henson, Woodward 2 Pen: Henson|
Worcester took a big stride to ensuring Premiership survival as they ran six tries past bottom club Bristol.
Following a second-minute penalty try, Francois Hougaard, Will Spencer and Bryce Heem all crossed to earn the Warriors a bonus point by half-time.
Gavin Henson kicked a penalty, also converting Jason Woodward's try.
After winger Heem added his second try, Bristol crossed twice through Max Crumpton and Tom Varndell, but Wynand Olivier's late effort sealed victory.
After Woodward had converted Crumpton's 68th-minute try and Jack Wallace had drop-kicked the conversion to Varndell's breakaway try six minutes later to make it 36-24, one more try could have earned Bristol two bonus points and cut Worcester's five-point advantage from this game.
But, as it was, Olivier latched onto Mills' kick-through to claim the final score and put Worcester seven points clear of Bristol in the table.
Roared on by a sell-out 11,499 crowd for this battle of the bottom two, Warriors were awarded a penalty try inside 66 seconds - thought to be the fastest awarded in Premiership history - as well as an added bonus of Bristol lock Dan Tuohy being put in the sin bin for entering the ruck from the side.
After Mills converted from in front of the posts, he then added three more points with a 45-yard penalty for a 10-0 lead inside six minutes.
Heem's own yellow card, for his 14th minute tip tackle on Ryan Bevington, allowed Bristol a platform to reduce the arrears with a Henson penalty. But, a minute later, Hougaard broke brilliantly down the right straight from a Bristol line-out, Mills converting for 17-3.
Bristol full-back Woodward then stole on to a loose ball to collect and dive over to the left of the posts, Henson converting for 17-10. But two more converted tries in the space of five minutes, again down the right, gave Warriors a 31-10 interval lead.
There was then a try-less period until Heem went in at the right corner in the 63rd minute, before the two scores from Crumpton and Varndell made it interesting.
Varndell's interception of Mills' pass increased the Premiership record scorer's try total to 92 - his fourth against Worcester this season after his hat-trick at Ashton Gate. But the hosts had the final word, when Olivier crossed for the last of the game's nine tries.
Warriors director of rugby Gary Gold told BBC Hereford & Worcester:
"A pleasing day. There's some real quality in this side. Maybe all these guys needed was a bit of belief.
"A fourth try for them and getting within seven points of us would have been bad for us, but we saw it out.
"In a game like this, you don't want it determined by poor discipline but, by and large, it was very good.
"What Bristol do now is out of our control. But I was quite impressed with them. I don't think they're going to roll over, especially not at Ashton Gate."
Interim Bristol head coach Mark Tainton told BBC Radio Bristol:
"They kicked off, we made a mistake, then they get a penalty try and we get a yellow card. Then we gifted them another try.
"They didn't have to work too hard for their points in the first half.
"I don't think we've had five tries scored down the right against us all season.
"But Worcester played well, at a good tempo, they put dents in our midfield and, on occasions, they could have gone left or right."
Bristol captain Jordan Crane told BBC Radio Bristol:
"Worcester were outstanding. They outmuscled us. It's bitterly disappointing, but sometimes things happen that way.
'We'll keep going. It's by no means done. There's still points to play for and we'll keep scrapping. We've got two weeks now to concentrate on the Gloucester game."
Worcester: Pennell; Heem, Olivier, Willison, Adams; Mills, Hougaard; Ruskin, Taufete'e, Schonert, O'Callaghan (capt), Spencer, Vui, Lewis, Mama.
Replacements: Williams, Bower, Alo, Cavubati, Potgieter, Baldwin, Lamb, Humphreys.
Sin-bin: Heem (10)
Bristol: Woodward; Lemi, Hurrell, Piutau, Varndell; Henson, Mathewson; Bevington, Jones, Cortes, Evans, Tuohy, Eadie, Lam, Crane (capt).
Replacements: Crumpton, O'Connell, Ford-Robinson, Jeffries, Fenton-Wells, Williams, Pisi, Wallace.
Sin-bin: Tuohy (1)
Referee: Wayne Barnes.
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