Worcester 20 Harlequins 27: Old master Mehrtens punishes wasteful Worcester

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The Independent Online

Harlequins snatched an unlikely win by scoring three opportunist tries at Sixways to leave Worcester in desperate trouble at the foot of the Premiership table.

Full-back Mike Brown and wingers David Strettle and Simon Keogh punished some glaring defensive errors from the Warriors, with the recalled fly-half Andrew Mehrtens adding three conversions and two penalties.

The Worcester fly-half James Brown had kept the scoreboard ticking over with five penalties but it took 70 minutes to find a way through the visitors' defence when the replacement flanker Gavin Quinnell smashed his way over from a line-out.

Worcester conceded the softest of tries against the run of play when the ball squirted away from Thinus Delport and full-back Mike Brown hacked on and touched down.

More slack defending allowed Strettle to wriggle out of a tackle and stretch over for a second try.

Worcester were dominant up front and pounded their way back into scoring positions for Brown to chip away at the lead with penalties after 27 and 29 minutes. They appeared to have seized control when Brown kicked a fifth penalty. But the advantage evaporated when Quins lost a second prop to injury - Mike Ross following Ceri Jones into the changing room - forcing uncontested scrums for the rest of the game.

Quins then struck with a third opportunist try after Delport spilt the ball and Keogh regathered and sprinted 60 metres to score.

Quinnell's try earned Worcester a bonus point but Brown could not convert and Worcester were kept at arm's length as Mehrtens used all his know-how to run down the clock.

Worcester: Tries Quinnell; Penalties Brown 5. Harlequins: Tries Brown, Strettle, Keogh; Conversions Mehrtens 3; Penalties Mehrtens 2.

Worcester: T Delport (S Drahm, 55); A Havili, D Rasmussen, T Lombard (M Tucker, 67), M Garvey; J Brown, M Powell; T Tuamoepeau (D Morris, 52), A Lutui, C Horsman, C Gillies, T Collier (P Murphy, 67), P Sanderson, T Harding (G Quinnell, 63), K Horstmann.

Harlequins: M Brown; D Strettle, M Deane, S Abbott (G Duffy, 77), S Keogh; A Mehrtens, A Gomarsall; C Jones (R Nebbett, 40), T Fuga, M Ross (N Spanghero, 50), O Kohn, J Evans, A Vos, P Volley, N Easter.

Referee: C White (Gloucestershire)

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