Former England captain Lewis Moody ended a difficult week in more pain as tepid Bath slipped to a 16-7 defeat against Aviva Premiership strugglers Worcester at Sixways last night.
Moody, his trademark all-action style making little headway in a Bath side devoid of ideas, lasted only 49 minutes before an arm injury forced him off. He was also bleeding quite heavily from a cut to his head.
Only two days ago, Moody had felt obliged to issue a strongly-worded statement hitting back at suggestions he put commercial gain before his rugby during England's dismal World Cup campaign.
Worcester, in 11th place before kick-off last night with only two wins from eight league starts, dominated territory and possession to leave Bath living off scraps. Wing Miles Benjamin scored a superb solo try for the Warriors, while fly-half Joe Carlisle chipped in through two penalties and a conversion before Andy Goode added a drop-goal six minutes from time.
Bath managed a 69th-minute touchdown for prop Charlie Beech after he was driven over from close range – substitute Olly Barkley converted – yet it proved too little too late. To complete a miserable night for Bath, their England lock Dave Attwood was carried off with his neck in a brace following a lengthy stoppage midway through the second period while medical staff stabilised him.
"We were pretty average and we have no excuses," admitted the Bath coach, Sir Ian McGeechan. "Things have to be far better than they were tonight. We have to look hard at ourselves. We did not do ourselves justice."
Replacement fly-half Ignacio Mieres turned a remarkable second-half Exeter fightback into a 30-23 victory with a last-minute try against Sale at Edgeley Park after the visitors had trailed 23-7 at half-time.
Tries from prop Henry Thomas and centre Sam Tuitupou, along with two conversions and three penalties from Nick MacLeod, had given Sale a commanding lead at the interval with a 22nd-minute try from Richard Baxter the only reply.
Yet the Devon side were a transformed outfit after the restart and shut out Sale before launching a stunning recovery. After two penalties reduced the arrears, the sending of Thomas to the sin-bin in the 55th minute and a penalty try, which Argentine playmaker Mieres converted, suddenly put Exeter within three points.
Mieres then kicked a penalty to level the scores in the 72nd minute and scampered clear in the last minute after intercepting an errant Sale pass to give the visitors victory. Mieres added the conversion to leave Sale with only the consolation of a losing bonus point.
Afterwards, the Sale coach, Steve Diamond, was scathing in his criticism of his team. "There are a lot of players who need to look at themselves because we've been beaten by a team on desire and decision-making," he said.