Two tries from Ollie Lawrence help Worcester to victory
Ollie Lawrence came off the bench to score two tries as Worcester Warriors powered their way to a 40-25 victory against London Irish in what was a clash of two out-of-form teams at The Stoop.
The Warriors had only won once in the Gallagher Premiership since the turn of the year, but they were the dominant force at the Exiles’ temporary home, where they ran in six tries.
Two of those went to South Africa scrum-half Francois Hougaard, who was the class act in helping Worcester come back from a one-point half-time deficit and inflict upon Irish their ninth straight defeat.
It was the hosts who struck first after four minutes when a long pass from Theo Brophy-Clews found Ben Loader all alone down the left to open the scoring, with Paddy Jackson’s conversion striking an upright.
Worcester then had a long spell of possession deep in the Exiles’ 22 but were unable to find a finishing touch, as Ethan Waller knocked the ball on over the try line.
Another chance went begging for the Warriors when Melani Nanai threw a forward pass to Noah Heward from what looked a simple two-on-one opportunity.
The visitors finally made their territory count after 25 minutes, however, when Hougaard snuck his way over after several pick and goes had been repelled, with Duncan Weir’s conversion putting them 7-5 ahead.
Irish then had Isaac Curtis-Harris sin-binned for a dangerous tackle on Niall Annett, but the depleted hosts went into the break 8-7 in front thanks to Jackson’s penalty.
Worcester restored their lead two minutes after the restart, with Curtis-Harris still off the field, when Hougaard went over for his second try after being sent under the posts by Lawrence.
London Irish were soon reduced to 14 men again when Terrence Hepetema saw yellow for a needless shoulder charge on Waller and the Warriors punished this lapse in discipline straight away through a well-worked try from Nanai.
The visitors claimed the try bonus point after 58 minutes off a first-phase move from a scrum, which culminated in Ashley Beck putting Lawrence in the clear through the middle.
Having conceded 21 unanswered points, Irish finally hit back when Albert Tuisue was able to burrow his way over the line from inches out to give his side a slither of a chance with 18 minutes left.
But the Warriors put the result beyond doubt with their fifth try of the afternoon when more sharp play from Hougaard allowed Lawrence to saunter in for his second.
The Exiles were able pick up a try bonus point of their own as Ben Meehan’s sniping finish was followed up by Tom Homer being sent through a gap, but Worcester had the last word when Tom Howe grounded the ball off a driving maul.