Warriors overcome gritty Exiles
Semisi Taulava's second-half try was enough for Worcester to move clear of London Welsh with a 13-6 Premiership success.
Semisi Taulava's second-half try was enough for Worcester to move clear of London Welsh with a 13-6 Premiership success over the Exiles at Sixways in Friday.
After a scrappy first half, Josh Matavesi produced the moment of inspiration for the home side to battle to their fourth Premiership success of the season, setting up Semisi Taulava for the only try of the game.
Worcester came into the fixture having split their two matches with Perpignan in the Challenge Cup but unbeaten at home in the Premiership since an opening day defeat to Bath.
In comparison Welsh had struggled on the road, with their solitary away victory coming at Sale back in September.
But Lyn Jones' men have surprised many this season and were able to keep it tight, with the sides going in level at 6-6 at the break.
Worcester appeared determined to open it up a bit more in the second half and got their reward when Matavesi produced a couple of deft touches to send Taulava over for the game's only try.
It was Welsh who had made the quicker start, with an early lineout drive forcing Worcester to infringe, and former Scotland flyhalf Gordon Ross slotted the second-minute penalty.
Andy Goode responded for the Warriors immediately as Welsh were penalised from the restart.
Worcester had more of the ball but appeared to be struggling to finish off their chances, with another Goode penalty in the 21st minute, all they could muster.
This time it was Welsh's turn to respond, and another powerful maul put pressure on the Warriors, with Taulava sent to the sin bin, and Ross slotted the penalty to level the scores.
Despite having the extra man, Welsh were not able to take advantage as the sides went in deadlocked at the break after an uninspiring opening period.
After the break Worcester showed more attacking intent, and after Ross had missed a chance to put his side in front, it was Taulava who crashed over.
Matavesi began the move with a dummy and run from inside his own 22 to take the play downfield, and after a great break from Alex Grove, it was the Fijian once more who made the scoring pass to Taulava. Goode converted to extend the lead to seven points.
With just over 20 minutes to go, Worcester needed to hold on, and a third missed penalty of the evening from Ross on 75 minutes, made their job easier.
And while Welsh kept plugging away, they could not find a way through, having to settle for a losing bonus point which keeps London Irish at arm's length ahead of their home game with Leicester Tigers.
For Worcester Warriors:
Pens: Goode 2
For London Welsh:
Pens: Ross 2
Yellow card: Semisi Taulava (Worcester Warriors, 32)
Worcester Warriors: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Nikki Walker, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 David Lemi, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Paul Hodgson, 8 Semisi Taulava, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Neil Best, 5 Chris Jones, 4 James Percival (captain), 3 Euan Murray, 2 Ed Shervington, 1 Ceri Jones.
Replacements: 16 Aleki Lutui, 17 George Porter, 18 John Andress, 19 Dean Schofield, 20 Sam Betty, 21 Jonny Arr, 22 Danny Gray, 23 Jon Clarke.
London Welsh: 15 Tom Arscott, 14 Dan Caprice, 13 Sonny Parker, 12 Seb Jewell, 11 Nick Scott, 10 Gordon Ross, 9 Rob Lewis, 8 Ed Jackson, 7 Mike Denbee, 6 Adam Balding, 5 Kirill Kulemin, 4 Jonathan Mills (captain), 3 Arthur Joly, 2 Neil Briggs, 1 Frank Montanella.
Replacements: 16 Greg Bateman, 17 Tom Bristow, 18 James Tideswell, 19 Matt Corker, 20 Alfie To'oala, 21 Nick Runciman, 22 Alex Davies, 23. Tom Voyce.
Referee: Andrew Small
Assistant Referees: Stuart Terheege, Paul Burton.