Cohen clips the wings of Worcester

Worcester 7 Northampton 22
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The Independent Online

"If I didn't have the appetite to play for England again, I probably wouldn't be playing at all," said Cohen. "I can't remember the last time I scored a try. I score every day in training and it was nice to go over at last."

Worcester were left licking their wounds. They threw the ball wide and generally tried things. But such an uncharacteristic approach did nothing to knock the Saints out of their stride.

The hosts were quickly under pressure and after eight minutes Carlos Spencer found Ben Cohen with a scoring pass and Bruce Reihana converted.

That setback did nothing to deflect the Warriors from their plan. But as they continued to try to open the game up, a breathtaking break by the Scotland wing Sean Lamont allowed Reihana to play provider to Cohen, who ran away for his second try.

John Brain's plan may have been to further the attacking education of his players in order to prepare for times when they may have to play catch-up if they want to stay in the Premiership. But that should not prevent the scrum-half Matt Powell from a telling off for the wild forward pass he threw under his own posts. Fortunately for Powell, he put such strength into the pass that the ball flew straight into touch. He was luckier still that the Saints did not capitalise.

However, Reihana added a penalty nine minutes after the break - his first in three attempts - and a minute later Saints' latest signing, the once-capped All Black flanker Sam Harding, scored with his first touch after entering the fray as a replacement. He owed the score to Jon Clarke's 40-metre surge. Reihana converted.

That score prompted Worcester to revert to Plan A, and as they sought to apply more pressure up front Mark Soden responded with a high tackle on Powell that earned the Saints No 8 a stint in the sin bin. It was Budge Pountney's side's fifth such banishment in two games, following the farcical events at Kingsholm last week.

The home side cashed in on their advantage immediately with a forward drive that brought their first points through the flanker Sione Tuamoheloa's try. Shane Drahm converted.

Worcester: N le Roux; J Hylton, D Rasmussen (S Whatling, 80), G Trueman (T Lombard, 66), M Tucker; S Drahm, M Powell (A Gomarsall, 66); T Windo, A van Niekirk (I Clunis, 70), T Taumoepeau, T Collier (P Murphy, 50), C Gillies, K Horstmann, D Hickey (S Taumoheloa, 21), P Sanderson (capt).

Northampton: B Reihana (capt); S Lamont, J Clarke, D Quinlan (R Davies, 66), B Cohen; C Spencer, M Robinson (J Howard, 56); T Smith, D Richmond, C Noon (C Budgen, 26), S Boome, Damien Browne (M Lord, 66), S Thompson (S Mallon, 80), M Soden, D Fox (S Harding, 50).

Referee: M Fox (Leicestershire).