Worcester need to keep young talents, says Goode
Worcester 21 Gloucester 15
When the dust had settled on Andy Goode's try direct from a scrum inside the Gloucester 22, and Marcel Garvey's thrilling run-in from his own 22, the Worcester hierarchy attempted to make sense of the Catch-22 afflicting a club in its first season back in the Premiership. "We need to get our recruitment right," Goode proclaimed. "I think the whole backline who started, barring [fly-half] Joe [Carlisle] are out of contract for next season and hopefully the club can re-sign as many as possible."
All well and good, but Goode and the Worcester head coach Richard Hill know full well that a club perennially at risk of relegation are not as attractive an employer as the Leicesters and Northamptons of this world. Lose your top players – and Miles Benjamin, the Worcester wing, is on Leicester's radar as one of half a dozen Sixways backs, plus the England loosehead prop prospect Matt Mullan, whose futures are uncertain – and you are even more likely to be flirting with relegation.
Worcester are 13 points clear of bottom-placed Newcastle, and Hill said: "I would be mortified if we go down now." But despite the club's fantastic facilities, the grass may look greener elsewhere. Goode, the 31-year-old former England fly-half who has been warming the bench since October but struck as Carlisle's second-half replacement, cited the loss of flanker Tom Wood to Northampton two years ago and said: "We've got a good nucleus of young players and older gits like me and Tevita [Taumoepeau] and we need to keep as many of them as we can."
Taumoepeau, the 37-year-old Tongan, gave Gloucester's England loosehead possible Nick Wood a tough day. The visitors may also have rued their tactic of putting penalties to touch recklessly early in the second half.
They certainly have some sharp handlers and movers – Charlie Sharples did brilliantly to finish a try in a tight spot past the tackles of Chris Pennell and Dale Rasmussen in the 25th minute, which helped towards a 10-3 lead. But the scrummage penalty which gave Carlisle three points on half-time, then Freddie Burns's missed tackle to allow Goode through five minutes after the break, were costly lapses.
The same applied to Henry Trinder's muffed grubber with two men outside him, which Garvey scooped up to sprint 80 metres and put Worcester 21-10 up with 15 minutes left. Gloucester worked a late try by Jonny May to salvage a bonus point but for Hill nothing took the shine off Worcester's first back-to-back Premiership win in 35 matches. Is former Leicester and Harlequins director of rugby Dean Richards joining in the summer, he was asked? "The directors have to do what they think is best for the club," Hill straight-batted.
Scorers: Worcester Warriors: Tries Goode, Garvey. Conversion Goode. Penalties Carlisle 2, Goode.
Gloucester: Tries Sharples, May. Conversion Burns. Penalty Burns.
Worcester Warriors C Pennell (capt); M Garvey, A Grove, D Rasmussen, M Benjamin; J Carlisle (A Goode, h-t), J Arr (S Perry, 59); M Mullan, A Lutui, T Taumoepeau (O Tomaszczyk, 78), J Percival, C Jones, S Betty, J Abbott, M Kvesic.
Gloucester O Morgan (J May, 53); C Sharples, H Trinder, M Tindall, J Simpson-Daniel; F Burns, R Lawson (D Lewis, 66); N Wood (D Murphy, 72), S Lawson (M Cortese, 66), R Harden (D Chistolini, 66), J Hamilton, A Brown (P Buxton, 72), A Strokosch, A Qera (M Cox, 60), L Narraway (capt).
Referee M Fox (Leicestershire).
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