Worcester 16 Ospreys 47: 'Disgraceful' Worcester receive thrashing off ruthless Ospreys

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Cecil Duckworth, Worcester's chairman and principal benefactor, made his money in combination boilers and he knows a team in hot water when he sees one. "Mike [Ruddock] is obviously learning all the time about the players and the way they play," said Duckworth of his recently installed director of rugby. "We've been very close in all our other games this season but for this to happen on national TV is disgraceful really. We've got some very good young players and I think we need to try and bring them in. The established players are just not performing."

Duckworth may get his way immediately as the 20-year-old full-back Chris Pennell is set for a run at Harlequins this weekend. But Worcester were all but doomed in the EDF Energy Cup by this thrashing, and look set already for a fight against relegation in the Premiership after no wins and one draw in their opening six matches.

Duckworth jettisoned John Brain at the end of last season, replacing him with the Welsh duo Ruddock and, as head coach, Clive Griffiths. They have promised a more open style without the players to provide it, and a cross-kick by James Brown for a try by the second row Craig Gillies was a rare example of a working Worcester tactic.

Top-quality half-backs would be handy, to go with the three good Kiwis soon to join: Rico Gear, Greg Rawlinson and Sam Tuitupou, although the exciting centre Tuitupou has broken his wrist and is out for six weeks. The Fijian back rower Netani Talei could get a first team debut this weekend. Do not write Worcester off just yet.

The 8,000 crowd saw an Ospreys team eminently capable of taking the Heineken Cup – never mind the EDF Energy Cup or the Magners League – this season if they can keep their minds on the job for enough sets of 80 minutes. They have the cocksure Justin Marshall at scrum-half and outside him the skills of James Hook, amply demonstrated with boot and hands as Worcester were sliced asunder for seven tries by Ospreys' backs.

"We knew what Worcester were about, with a great pack," said Lee Byrne, the full-back who scored two tries, as did his right wing, Shane Williams. "Our forwards gave us a great platform and our fitness told."

Ruddock missed the post-match press conference as he did not want give Welsh reporters his reaction to recent criticism of his time as Wales coach from retired Test players Gareth Thomas and Gareth Llewellyn. It was Worcester's most recognisable side-step of the day but an ill-advised one.

Worcester: Try Gillies; Conversion Brown; Penalties Drahm 3. Ospreys: Tries Byrne 2, Walker, Williams 2, Parker, Phillips; Conversions Hook 4, Connor 2.

Worcester: S Drahm (M Benjamin, 51); M Garvey, D Rasmussen, M Tucker, T Delport; L Crichton (J Brown, 61), R Powell (M Powell, 61); D Morris (T Windo, 57), A Lutui (C Fortey, 57), T Taumoepeau, P Murphy, C Gillies, D Hickey, P Sanderson (capt; K Horstmann, 40), G Quinnell (W Bowley, 65).

Ospreys: L Byrne; S Williams, S Parker (A Bishop, 64), G Henson, N Walker; J Hook (S Connor, 69), J Marshall (M Phillips, 64); D Jones, H Bennett (R Hibbard, 65), C Griffiths (A Jones, 47), I Gough (A-W Jones, 57), I Evans, J Thomas (H T-Pole, 69), B Lewis, F Tiatia (capt).

Referee: N Owens (WRU).