Worcester 33 Exeter 38 match report: Gareth Steenson steers Exeter towards Europe as Warriors perish



Rather too late as they contemplate what looks certain to be a second relegation from the Premiership, Worcester claimed their first four-try point of the season, plus a losing bonus, when really they had needed a win to inspire anything like a genuine hope of escape .

There is a seven-point gap to Newcastle above them at the bottom of the table, and the Falcons also have a greater number of wins. As Worcester go to Bath and Saracens next before finishing here against Gloucester, their chances of staying up are the slim side of emaciated.

This club have built almost the bespoke model for facilities and access hard by the M5, up which Exeter travelled for the win that bolstered their bid to qualify for next season's new European Champions Cup, but Worcester have set low standards with a high turnover of coaches and an inability to hang on to top players. England's Tom Wood, Dylan Hartley, Matt Kvesic and Matt Mullan, plus Miles Benjamin, Graham Kitchener and Joe Carlisle, are among those nurtured here who departed to rival clubs.

Worcester were first promoted to the Premiership in 2004, relegated in 2010 and returned in 2011. They may come back again. But relegation normally means job cutbacks and depression among the supporters, so it will be up to the long-time benefactor and chairman Cecil Duckworth, and the less well-known majority shareholder David Allen (the founder of DHL Couriers), to decide how much and where to cut.

Dean Ryan, Worcester's current director of rugby, said: "I'm not going to hang on positives – we didn't win and for half an hour we just weren't good enough.

"But we're not going away. London Irish won at Saracens a few weeks ago so funny things can happen."

In a match resembling 15-a-side sevens, Gareth Steenson played as if protected by some kind of forcefield, such was Worcester's hapless attempts at tackling him. Crossing the gainline at will, the Exeter fly-half was prominent in the first two tries, by Dave Lewis, who threw a dummy you could have seen from the motorway, and Sam Hill in the opening 15 minutes, and scored himself in the 25th minute after an easy break by Hill.

So the two tries Worcester plundered within three minutes just after the half-hour were essential to stop the rot. Chris Pennell, the fine full-back who has played every minute of the Premiership season, went over on the short side of a scrum, followed by the Samoan wing David Lemi fashioning a try of typical brio at the same left-hand corner.

Whereas Steenson, the league's third-highest points scorer, would reach half-time with his 80 per cent Premiership goal-kicking rate intact after converting Jack Yeandle's try from a line-out drive, following a missed penalty, Worcester were in the less predictable hands of Lamb. In addition to three missed kicks, to go with a 13th-minute penalty and the conversion of Lemi's try, the much-travelled No 10 mixed fabulous and foul with a brilliant running pick-up as he chased back in his 22 coupled with a pass chucked to nowhere that Jonny Arr was obliged to hack into touch, leading to Yeandle's try.

Frayed nerves might be Lamb's middle names. But it would be wrong to lay anything like all the blame at the former Gloucester, Northampton, Leicester and London Irish fly-half's door. Worcester's missed-tackle count must have ticked well into double figures even before Lamb's 46th- minute penalty was trumped in rapid order by Yeandle's second try, converted by Steenson.

Agustin Creevy's try converted by Lamb after 52 minutes and a yellow card for Exeter's James Scaysbrook sandwiched a penalty by Steenson, before Lemi grabbed his second try and Exeter led 38-30.

Then Kai Horstmann, once of this parish, was penalised for holding on, and Lamb kicked the goal. In the final play, Lamb cross-kicked to Josh Drauniniu, who decided to wait for the bounce and fumbled forward as Arscott moved in.

Worcester C Pennell; J Drauniniu, A Grove, R Fatiaki (A Symons, 55), D Lemi; R Lamb, J Arr; O Fainga'anuku, A Creevy (E Shervington, 58), E Murray, J Percival, M Galarza, M Williams (S Taulava, 58), S Betty (R de Carpentier, 76), J Thomas (capt).

Exeter P Dollman; M Jess, I Whitten, S Hill (L Arscott, 66), F Vainikolo (H Slade, 76); G Steenson, D Lewis; B Moon (C Rimmer, 39-41, 59), J Yeandle (L Cowan-Dickie, 59), A Brown, D Armand (J Scaysbrook, 55), D Welch, D Ewers, D Mumm (capt), K Horstmann.

Referee J P Doyle (London)


Try: Trinder

Pens: Twelvetrees 4


Tries: Hooper, penalty

Con: Ford

Pens: Ford 2


Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent