Worcester 3 Wasps 3: Vickery rests injured ankle as Worcester hold Wasps to draw

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The Independent Online

Wasps win in Castres in the Heineken Cup last weekend has earned them a home quarter-final against Leinster, but their away form in the Premiership continues to disappoint and this was emphasised last night with this draw at Worcester

The Londoners have not won on the road in the top league since last May when they triumphed at Gloucester. With only eight of the side chosen in France taking the Sixways field against Worcester, they left Tom Palmer and Joe Worsley on the bench.

Worcester have no one at Twickenham, or against Italy A at Exeter next Friday, where James Haskell, of Wasps, is in the squad.

Wasps' Paul Sackey was released from the England squad and, after an operation to his knee, is not expected to resume training for three to four weeks. Tom Rees was rested. Phil Vickery was left out with an injured ankle. The Wasps coach, Ian McGeechan, described it as a precaution.

Vickery missed what turned out to be a fiercely bruising encounter, with Worcester relinquishing all sorts of opportunities to create a decisive advantage.

Wasps' Paul Sackey was released from the England squad and, after an operation to his knee, is not expected to resume training for three to four weeks. Tom Rees was rested.

There was adventure and running from both teams and Walder opened the scoring for Wasps with a 47-metre penalty. Worcester's Drahm set up the next exciting move. The full-back raced into Wasps territory, but when awarded a penalty, he went for touch. At the next penalty, he went for goal - but the ball faded and went past the right upright.

Then, after Mark van Gisbergen had been given a yellow card for an infringement, Drahm again went for touch but, as before, no points resulted.

Worcester's fly-half James Brown took the next kick to touch, but the line-out was no more decisive than before. Wasps then stayed offside a minute before the break and Drahm this time succeeded with a penalty to make it 3-3 at the interval.

Within two minutes of the restart, Wasps were offside 28 metres out. This time Drahm hit the left upright and the ball bounced back into play for the Wasps defence to clear.

At that point, Worcester, could, and perhaps should, have been winning 18-3, but their decisions when to kick for goal and when to go for touch seemed flawed

It now developed into a terrific scrap between the forwards. Worcester were laying about the Wasps pack, who were taking any number of backward steps, while the Warriors kept the ball alive with a growing intensity. Wasps rang the changes with five replacements.

Brown was next to take a shot at goal but, like Drahm, he, too, missed the target, being a shade short in length. Walder was next but he was short so, with 10 minutes to spare, it was still 3-3. It stayed like that until the bitter end.

Worcester : Penalty Drahm; Penalty Walder.

Worcester: S Drahm; A Havili, D Rasmussen, G Trueman, M Garvey; J Brown, M Powell; D Morris, C Fortey (A Lutui, 59), C Horsman (T Taumoepeau, 59), C Gillies, P Murphy (W Bowley, 59), D Hickey, P Sanderson (capt), K Horstmann (T Harding, 72).

Wasps: M Van Gisbergen (D Cipriani, 62); J Lewsey, F Waters, D Waldouck, T Voyce; D Walder, S Amor (E Reddan, 47); T Payne, J Ward (R Ibañez, 55), P Bracken (N Adams, 74), S Shaw (T Palmer, 51), M Purdy, D Leo (J Worsley, 55), J O'Connor, L Dallaglio (capt; J Haskell, 55)).

Referee: C White (Cheltenham).

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