Leicester 40 Worcester 21: Drahm's misses help to worsen Worcester woe

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The Independent Online

Worcester started this game as if they were still on the coach, crossing the country from Sixways. By the time they had woken up, they were adrift by 30 points and Shane Drahm had missed with two penalties and a dropped goal.

Given that Leicester were without the England starters Ben Kay, George Chuter, Lewis Moody, Martin Corry and Julian White, the England substitute Andy Goode and Geordan Murphy, who was with Ireland, this should have been a banana skin for them, especially as the Warriors were missing only their England No 8, Pat Sanderson. Having defeated Leicester only once in their history, this was Worcester's big chance. Did they take it? Not a bit of it.

Early in the second half, the Tigers took their lead to 30 points when the Italy prop Martin Castrogiovanni broke free from a maul and strolled over for his first Tigers try. Paul Burke converted.

Fortunately for the visitors, it was finally Leicester's turn to go to sleep. Gavin Hickie, who had replaced James Buckland at hooker two minutes earlier, was shown a yellow card. That signalled a wake-up call for Worcester, and briefly they sprang to life.

The prop Chris Horsman was the first to score, from a rolling maul. Drahm converted and Leicester were dreaming again when Simon Whatling scored Worcester's second. Once again Drahm converted. Were we going to witness the most unlikely of upsets? There was a chance, until the centre Dan Hipkiss finally took it to 35-14. By now Burke had gone off, and Sam Vesty hit the post with the conversion attempt.

Worcester's full-back, Lee Best, then scored to make it 35-21 with Drahm' s conversion and there was still time for Worcester to sneak a losing bonus point, but when the Tigers flanker Shane Jennings crossed for a final try it was all over.

One wonders about Worcester. They have a forthright pack of forwards, with Gavin Quinnell, Tom Harding and Kai Hortsmann in the thick of things. But beyond them they have Drahm, who appears to have lost his way since leaving Northampton. After Drahm, there is nobody. If they are to avoid relegation there will have to be a a dramatic improvement.

Leicester: Tries Crane, B Deacon, Varndell, Castrogiovanni, Hipkiss, Jennings; Conversions Burke 2; Penalties Burke 2. Worcester: Tries Horsman, Whatling, Best; Conversions Drahm 3.

Leicester: S Vesty; J Murphy, D Hipkiss, D Gibson, T Varndell (L Lloyd, 40); P Burke (M Cornwell, 70), H Ellis (S Bemand, 54): M Ayerza, J Buckland (G Hickie, 49), M Castrogiovanni (A Moreno, 49), L Deacon, L Cullen (capt; J Hamilton, 75), B Deacon, S Jennings, J Crane (L Abraham, 68).

Worcester: L Best; A Havili, T Lombard, S Whatling (T Delport, 64), M Tucker; S Drahm, R Powell (M Powell, 72); L Fortey (D Morris, 40), A Lutui (B Gotting, 63), C Horsman (Fortey, 66), C Gillies, P Murphy (T Collier, 63), K Horstmann (G Quinnell, 5-12), T Harding (Quinnell, 57), D Hickey.

Referee: S Davey (Sussex).

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