Worcester 25 Bristol 5: First win tempered by injury to Regan

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The Independent Online

While Worcester celebrated their first Premiership win of the season, England's head coach Brian Ashton was presented with a major injury scare when Bristol hooker Mark Regan left the field early in the second half. He looked to have damaged his left shoulder and spent a couple of anxious minutes flat out on the pitch.

Regan eventually got to his feet, waving the stretcher away, but had to be helped off. He will be examined by the club's medical staff today but they are confident that he will be able to join up with the England squad.

The win blew away all Worcester's worries. They had entered this match on the back of a successful European Challenge Cup campaign and brought that form into the domestic competition against an out-of-sorts Bristol.

Worcester's forwards, inspired by prop Darren Morris, dominated every aspect and were given carte blanche at the line-out where Bristol were woeful. Yet the home side spent the first half wrestling with Bristol and trailed to Tom Arscott's 11th-minute try. The free-scoring winger chipped the defence, watched as Worcester's fly-half Loki Crichton waited for the bounce, then regathered for a simple score, his eighth in all.

All Worcester managed in that old-fashioned first half was a solitary penalty by Crichton, but his next kick changed things after the interval. Worcester reduced Bristol to a shambolic mess in every department. They lost captain Matt Salter to the sin bin for persistent killing of the ball under severe pressure on their line.

While he was off, Worcester's captain Pat Sanderson rounded off a series of pick-and-goes with his ninth try of the season. Then All Blacks lock Greg Rawlinson scored his first for the club, and right at the end Dale Rasmussen was sent in by Rico Gear.

Worcester: T Delport; R Gear (C Pennell, 80), D Rasmussen (J Brown, 80), S Tuitupou, M Benjamin; L Crichton, M Powell (R Powell, 78); D Morris (C Black, 80), A Lutui (M Mullan, 74), T Taumoepeau, G Rawlinson, C Gillies (W Bowley, 78), D Hickey (N Talei, 66), P Sanderson (capt), K Horstmann.

Bristol: L Arscott; T Arscott (L Robinson, h-t), R Higgitt, D Hill, A Elliott; J Strange (J Taumalolo, 72), G Beveridge (B O'Riordan, 56); A Clarke (J Hobson, 71), M Regan (S Linklater, 45), D Crompton (J Hobson, ht-71), R Winters, S Hohneck, M Salter (capt; G Llewellyn, 74), A To'oala (J El Abd, 51), A Blowers.

Referee: T Spreadbury (Somerset).

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