Newcastle 20 Worcester 19: Wilkinson out for up to eight weeks

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The Independent Online

Yet another injury to Jonny Wilkinson compounded an evening of drama that ended with a last-gasp winning try for the Newcastle fly-half's team-mates. Wilkinson suffered a knee injury early in the second half which could well keep him out of the game for up to eight weeks.

"A twist to his right knee is all that happened, and we do not know how long he will be out. It was a collision with Andy Buist," said John Fletcher, the Newcastle director of rugby, though eight weeks appears a likely time frame.

After the former England fly-half was carried off, it looked as if the game was lost. But a try by Tim Visser gave Newcastle a one-point victory a minute from time. With Worcester down to 13 men for five minutes of the second half - Chris Horsman and Kai Horstmann in the sin bin - Newcastle took full advantage of their numerical superiority.

After events in round one of the competition, the moods of John Fletcher, who succeeded Rob Andrew as Newcastle's director of rugby, and John Brain his equivalent at Worcester could hardly have been different. Brain was incensed by his team's home defeat by Bristol and made six changes to the side. Fletcher, though, felt his side had done well to go down by just two points at Northampton.

Shane Drahm opened the scoring with a penalty from 45 metres, before Wilkinson tied the scores with one of his own. Drahm made it 6-3 with a second penalty before Marcel Garvey exploded away from the Newcastle defence for a try which Drahm converted to make it 13-3. This became 16-3 when Drahm took a penalty in front of the posts.

Within minutes of the restart, Wilkinson was helped away from the pitch. May, though, lifted Newcastle's spirits with a try. Robbie Morris got a second touchdown which Flood converted. Then, at the death, Visser ran in the try which earned Newcastle their single-point victory.

Newcastle: Tries May, Morris, Visser; Conversion Flood; Penalty Wilkinson. Worcester: Try Garvey; Conversion Drahm; Penalties Drahm 4.

Newcastle: M Burke; T May, J Noon, T Flood, O Phillips (J Shaw, h-t); J Wilkinson (T Visser, 46), J Grindal (H Charlton, 57); M Ward, D Thompson (A Long, 49), R Morris (D Wilson, h-t), A Perry, A Buist, B Wilson (M McCarthy, h-t), C Harris, P Dowson.

Worcester: L Best; T Delport, T Lombard, S Whatling (M Avramovic, 60), M Garvey; S Drahm, M Powell; D Morris, C Fortey (B Gotting, 56), T Tuamoepeau (C Horsman, 43), C Gillies, P Murphy (R Blaze, 75), P Sanderson, T Harding, D Hickey (K Horstmann, 50).

Referee: A Spreadbury (Somerset).

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