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Highlights & Report | Worcester Warriors 24-16 Leicester Tigers

Great start for Worcester

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Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Warriors got their Gallagher Premiership campaign off to the best possible start with a fifth straight win over Leicester Tigers in all competitions.

First half tries from Ted Hill and Perry Humphreys and 14 points from the boot of Duncan Weir helped Warriors to complete a quickfire double over Leicester following victory in the Premiership Rugby Cup last month.

The scoreline perhaps did not reflect how Warriors dominated for long periods of the match but handling errors and a heavy penalty count at the breakdown prevented them from converting second half pressure into more points.

But Warriors again demonstrated a fierce will to win and n ability to retain their composure under pressure with Weir levering over three penalties in the final quarter to deny Leicester a bonus point.

Weir’s accuracy proved decisive as Leicester missed three penalties including two in the final quarter when the match was still in the balance.

Leicester were unrecognisable from the side Warriors trounced in the  Premiership Rugby Cup four weeks ago but it was centre Tom Hardwick, one of the few survivors from that encounter, who gave Tigers the lead with a third minute penalty.

Warriors hit back in style with a rampaging  Hill clattering down the right wing after he was set free by a lovely pass from Ryan Mills. Hill had plenty to do when he got the ball but he handed off one tackler and battered his way past full-back George Worth to touch down.

Weir’s conversion from the right hand touchline struck the left post but bounced out.

Leicester hit back with try from hooker Tom Youngs who was smuggled over from a driving maul after Hardwick kicked a penalty into the corner for the lineout.

Hardwick added the extras but Warriors looked sharp in attack and they crafted a try for Perry Humphreys that was all about support play. Melani Nanai made a half-break and slipped the ball to Chris Pennell who found Cornell du Preez in support. The number eight took the ball into contact but popped it up for the supporting Humphreys who went over for his second try of the season against Leicester.

Weir added the conversion but Warriors’ lead lasted only six minutes as Hardwick slotted a penalty after Warriors were penalised at the breakdown.

That score was cancelled out by a penalty from Weir but Warriors had to defend determinedly to hold onto their lead.

Leicester kicked two penalties to the corner and again tried to force their way over from a driving maul but Warriors stole the second lineout with the final play of the first half.

Leicester did regain the lead early in the second half when Hardwick struck a penalty but that proved to be their last success as EW Viljoen and then Hardwick both missed with penalty attempts in a costly three minutes period.

Instead Weir rewarded Warriors for a passionate display by rewarding Warriors for the tenacity and picking up the penalties when they were on offer.

His longest range effort five minutes from time gave Warriors some breathing space and his last, a minute from time, started the celebrations.

Warriors | 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Perry Humphreys, 13 Ashley Beck, 12 Ryan Mills, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Francois Hougaard, 1 Callum Black (Waller 56), 2 Niall Annett, 3 Conor Carey (Palframan 78), 4 Anton Bresler, 5 Graham Kitchener (Fatialofa 51), 6 Ted Hill, 7 Marco Mama (C), 8 Cornell du Preez (van Velze 63).
Replacements | 16 Isaac Miller, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Richard Palframan, 19 Michael Fatialofa, 20 GJ van Velze, 21 Jono Kitto, 22 Jono Lance, 23 Francois Venter.

Match Highlights:

Timeline
3m | Hardwick pen 0-3
6m | Hill try 5-3
10m | Youngs try 5-8
11m | Hardwick con 5-10
28m | Humphreys try 10-10
29m | Weir con 12-10
35m | Hardwick pen 12-13
38m | Weir pen 15-13
48m | Hardwick pen 15-16
64m | Weir pen 18-16
75m | Weir pen 21-16
80m | Weir pen 24-16

Match Report  from Worcester Warriors

Premiership

Saracens Chairman makes statement.

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(Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)

Statement below from Saracens Chairman, Nigel Wray.

Saracens today confirms that it is not going to appeal the recent ruling of the independent panel in relation to salary cap breaches.

Any review or further appeal would be a costly, time consuming and destabilising exercise and so for the good of the game, the Premiership and this wonderful club and all its great people, a club which I have loved and served for 25 years, we have decided not to appeal but to take our punishment and hopefully soon put this behind us.

I recognise that the arrangements between myself and players, made in good faith, which comprise the material element of the charges, should have been brought to the attention of the salary cap manager for consultation prior to entering into them.

It is significant that following extensive investigations the independent panel stated that we have “not deliberately sought to circumvent the regulations” albeit we recognise that some of our actions were considered to be “reckless”.

As chairman, I must take full responsibility for the arrangements that led to this outcome. It is important to stress that our excellent coaching staff were not involved in these issues in any way.

In addition, we can confirm that we are complying strictly with the salary cap regulations in the current season and will continue to work transparently with Premiership Rugby in this regard. 

We will shortly introduce robust independent governance measures acceptable to all, including the appointment to the Saracens board of a director, who will oversee a new governance regime. I will continue as always to support the club financially going forwards to ensure there is no financial instability or uncertainty.

This amazing club, which has been such a huge part of my family’s life and indeed of many, many others, has produced an incredible number of world-class rugby players. About ten of our current team have been together for between seven and ten years, as indeed have all the coaches; fourteen players have played over one hundred times for the Club and for me it is the caring and the closeness of everyone in the Saracens Family that achieves success throughout every part of our wide-ranging Saracens activities, both on the field and away from it.

Perhaps we have done the wrong thing for the right reasons, but we must now draw a line and come together as Saracens to fully support our players, our coaches and our hard-working staff.

Q&A

Why has the Club decided not to appeal the decision?

The Club believes that a review or further appeal would be a costly, time consuming and destabilising exercise. So for the good of the game, the Premiership and this club, we have decided not to appeal but to take our punishment and aim to put this behind us.

What does this mean for the season ahead?

The season ahead will be challenging but Mark McCall, his coaches and players will prepare for all of our games in the same focused, committed way and that will continue to be the case. We are a very tight family and this will only make us closer.

Does this outcome affect any of your Premiership titles?

No. The sanctions do not have an impact on any trophies the team has previously won.

Will the Club now be forced to sell players to comply with the salary cap?

No. The Club allocates a set budget for player remuneration which the CEO and coaching staff take full responsibility for. This budget falls within the salary cap and has no connection whatsoever to third party co-investments.

Is the Club now in compliance with the salary cap?

Yes. Under PRL regulations we are in compliance. 

How does this outcome affect the Club’s transfer policy?

It does not prevent the Club from signing new players in the future.

What has the Club done to make sure this doesn’t happen again?

We will now introduce robust independent governance measures acceptable to all, including a new appointment to the Saracens board who will oversee governance.

And longer term, what does this mean for Saracens Chairman Nigel Wray?

Nigel has been involved with the Club for 25 years and his support for the Club remains as strong as ever. He will ensure the Club moves forward from today in the right way as quickly as possible.

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Premiership

Tigers star ruled out for 6 months with leg-break.

6 Months out.

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Leicester Tigers outside back Sam Aspland-Robinson has been ruled out of action for up to six months after fracturing his tibia in the European Challenge Cup win over Pau at Welford Road.

The 22-year-old suffered the leg injury in the opening minutes of the European fixture and was replaced by George Worth after being assisted from the field by Tigers medical staff.

Aspland-Robinson was playing in just his second match of the 2019/20 season after suffering a foot injury in the opening game of the Premiership Rugby Cup, away to Worcester Warriors at Sixways Stadium.

Speaking about the loss of Aspland-Robinson, Tigers head coach Geordan Murphy admitted he was “gutted” to see the young back facing another length period on the sideline.

“At this stage, we don’t expect to see Sam back until well into the New Year,” said Murphy.

“He had an x-ray following the match which showed a fracture and will meet with a surgeon, who will help determine as to whether he needs surgery and the full extent of the injury.

“We’re all gutted for Sam, he’s worked hard to get his way back into the side. he had a great pre-season and has been waiting for his opportunity since Worcester. He’s been training brilliantly and I was excited to get him out against Pau.

“What we do know is that he will put everything into his rehab and return fitter and stronger.”

Aspland-Robinson is in his second season in Leicester after joining the Tigers from Harlequins over the summer of 2018, making 12 appearances during his debut campaign with the club.

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Premiership

Saracens Set to Land South African Starlet

Saracens have had their struggles of late but it appears as though despite everything they remain active in the transfer market and are preparing to sign one of South Africa’s brightest stars

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(Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)

Saracens are in advanced talks with young South African forward Cobus Wiese from the Stormers it has been revealed and his signing could benefit England too.

With the South African side struggling with cash at the moment, losing a host of their star players in recent times, the English Premiership giants are preparing to swoop in for another, with it believed that the utility forward to sign a five-year contract. 

At 22, the forward has been a regular for both the Stormers and Western Province over the past two years and if he does put pen to paper on the deal it would see him become available for England during his career. 

The London-based side have had a rough few days being handed a £5.3 million fine and being deducted 35 points in the Premiership for a breach of salary cap rules, but while that is being appealed, the club seem likely to continue their transfer business as usual. 

While for Saracens it would be a massive coup to sign Wiese, for the Stormers it would be a huge loss as they have already lost World Cup winners Eben Etzebeth and Damian de Allende, as well as other players such as Dan Kriel, Michael Kumbirai, Corne Fourie and EW Viljoen among others due to the current crisis at the franchise. 

The Stormers have been struggling through their pre-season so far as a host of their players are on loan abroad and they await the returns of some of their World Cup stars. 

They should be boosted by the returns of captain Siya Kolisi, Steven Kitshoff, Herschel Jantjies, Bongi Mbonambi, Frans Malherbe and recent World Player of the Year winner Pieter-Steph du Toit, who are all set to come back to the franchise come mid-December. 

However, the loss of another player and a rising star could not only be a blow for the club but for the Springboks in the future.

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