Delport in a storm steers Worcester to safety

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The Independent Online

Forget Gloucester, Bath and Leicester, losers this weekend. Worcester are in Championship form, even if the only tangible upshot of three wins and a draw in four matches has been to save their skins from relegation.

This was a first win in 10 attempts against their neighbours, and it came with a last-gasp try by Thinus Delport. The good news for Gloucester is that next Saturday's Heineken Cup quarter-final is at Kingsholm. The bad news is that theirmidfield trio of Ryan Lamb, Anthony Allen and James Simpson-Daniel look vulnerable to Munster's Kiwi centres. There is a lack of bulk in the absence of Mike Tindall.

In filthy conditions, Worcester began with the wind behind them. They turned Gloucester over in the visitors' 22 and Sam Tuitupou, at inside-centre, sidestepped past Rory Lawson for a try in 62 seconds. Shane Drahm converted. With Craig Gillies clicking into his inimitable line-out groove – unchallengeable on his ball, nicking one from the returning Alex Brown – a second Worcester try, after 21 minutes, rocked Gloucester again. A decoy move off a scrum saw the scrum-half, Matt Powell, crab right; Delport straightened the angle and chipped for Marcel Garvey who, thanks to a kind bounce, was able to give a scoring pass inside to Miles Benjamin.

For Garvey, that was as good as it got. Gloucester's first attack of note was in the 26th minute and it preceded a try five minutes later when Lesley Vaini-kolo was worked into space on the left. The Anglo-Tongan piled through Garvey to score and left the much smaller man in a heap. While Lamb converted, Garvey was being readied for a trip to hospital but he returned to the club later.

Having found their feet Gloucester upped the pace. Simpson-Daniel drew too many Worcester tacklers for the home side's good, the forwards drove to the 22 and Lawson ran through to the posts unopposed, Lamb converting for a 14-12 lead.

For the second half the rain, which had merely been pouring down before, came in earnest. There was water, water, everywhere, and for Gloucester's fly-halves – first Lamb, then the replacement, Willie Walker – kicking relentlessly to the corners was meat and drink. When Worcester, with 10 minutes left, made a very rare visit to the Gloucester half, Aleki Lutui was whistled for delaying a line-out. Daft, really, when all he had to do was lob it to Gillies, but in the teeth of the tempest it was not certain Worcester's Tongan hooker could actually see him.

With a little luck and design, Worcester got the winning score. Drahm's garryowen bounced back over the head of Benjamin but handily for Tuitupou, whose grubber forced Simpson-Daniel to carry over. Kai Horstmann's first charge was held; with 95 seconds on the clock a second scrum was set and Worcester went blind through the replacement scrum-half, Jonny Arr, whose pass was handed on over his head by Benjamin to Delport, once of Gloucester, who celebrated ecstatically.

Worcester: T Delport; M Garvey (R Gear, 32), D Rasmussen, S Tuitupou, M Benjamin; S Drahm, M Powell (J Arr, 70); T Windo (D Morris, 53; Taumoepeau, 75), A Lutui, T Taumoepeau (M Mullan, 70), G Rawlinson, C Gillies, T Wood (D Hickey, 59), K Horstmann, P Sanderson (capt).

Gloucester: O Morgan; I Balshaw (C Paterson, 40), J Simpson-Daniel, A Allen, L Vainikolo; R Lamb(W Walker, 61), R Lawson (G Cooper, 58); N Wood,A Titterrell, C Nieto, M Bortolami (capt), A Brown,A Strokosch (G Delve, 58), L Narraway, A Qera.

Referee: S Davey (Sussex).

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