Given the facts Worcester have only once won their opening match of a Premiership season and have never been victorious at Welford Road, the first game of Dean Ryan’s reign was always unlikely to provide a surfeit of points.

In the end, perhaps predictably, it didn’t produce any as the energy provided by Warriors’ fresh beginning, new signings and the mercurial Josh Matavesi weren’t enough to fashion anything other than a decent second half showing.

Ryan is far more concerned with his work of club-building to be overly worried by his team’s multiple and varied short-term shortcomings, which were especially exposed in the first half by a Leicester team that functioned reasonably well even without Toby Flood, Ben Youngs and Manu Tuilagi.

Unfortunately, throughout that opening period new Worcester looked very much like old Worcester, committed and enthusiastic but limited when they had the ball. Which wasn’t that often.

“Twelve weeks training, everyone was trying to make a positive impact and we just shoved everybody into every breakdown to get positive - and we ended up sinking,” was Ryan’s assessment.

“We got caught behind the gain-line, gave penalties away and you end up feeling like you are drowning at Welford Road because you can’t get out of your 22.”

That situation improved considerably in the second stanza, as Matavesi and Semisi Taulava began to find gaps in the home rearguard but the jury remained out on the direction offered by first-time half-back pairing Ignacio Mieres and Jeremy Su’a.

“At half time I said ‘Let’s be a little bit more direct, play a little bit more field position, let’s take our over-exuberance out of the defence and stay detailed and we’ll get something out of it’.

“Halfway through we could have crawled under a rock and got a beating - and we didn’t.”

Certainly in the early stages Worcester only managed a couple of half openings as most of their forays broke up on the rocks of the Leicester defence. They were going too wide too early and not to good effect.

The rest of the period was spent with Leicester seeking for ways to manifest their clear superiority on the scoreboard.

They first did that in the seventh minute when Ryan Lamb capitalised on a break he’d manufactured for Adam Thompstone and Tom Croft, with a 40m penalty.

Thompstone finished off his next opportunity which came on the quarter hour after Vereniki Goneva ghosted into midfield on half way and laid off to Niall Morris.

The full back chipped behind Pennell who was then beaten to the ball by a flying Thompstone.

Eight minutes later a poor clearance from Su’a allowed the hosts to counter and win a second Lamb penalty and an 11-point lead.

The Red Arrows fly over Welford Road before the match between Leicester and Worcester
The Red Arrows fly over Welford Road before the match between Leicester and Worcester
 

It was not until five minutes before the interval that Mieres got Warriors’ first points with a straight-forward 41m goal.

But just when it seemed they would reach the midway point still in touch, a brilliant off-load from Jordan Crane was taken over the line by debutant scrum half David Mele. Lamb’s extras made it 18-3.

To be fair to Worcester they stuck to their task well and if the 20,000 home supporters had returned with their seats expecting a slaughter, the visitors weren’t willing to play lambs.

Indeed Tigers’ only score for the next half hour came when the Sixways side had Mike Williams in the sin bin.

The young lock blotted an otherwise promising debut, marked by some huge hits by taking Lamb off the ball.

“I forgot you go non-contact on a Leicester ten when you get close to winning,” Ryan said acidly.

Soon after Leicester went to the corner and Crane was shunted over. Another Lamb conversion made it 25-3.

However, the next 20 minutes belong to Ryan’s men as Matavesi came to the fore.

First he took his team behind Leicester with a half-break that was eventually completed when Chris Jones plunged through a tackle. Mieres’s extras took his side into double figures.

And then Matavesi produced a piece of brilliance that is becoming as much a trademark of his game as some of his less, well-conceived interventions.

There was no faulting him on this occasion though as he flung an outrageous dummy that had everyone in the Crumbie stand going the wrong way.

It also created an angle through which he had just enough pace to reach the line for an extravagant individual score.

But just when it looked like Warriors would leave the most impenetrable fortress in English rugby by denying the home team a bonus point, there was a sting in the Tigers’ tail.

Tom Croft went galloping down the touchline and even though Paul Hodgson did well to drag down the blindside, Goneva picked his way through the fragments of the remaining defence.

Owen Williams, a summer recruit from Scarlets, showed why the Leicester crowd will come to love him, particularly if Lamb’s game-management continues to be as vexatious they found it, with a sumptuous touchline conversion.

“I am not playing week in week out, I am looking for characters and behaviours which underpin us over a year, two-year period," added Ryan.

"I thought the second half was a great start to that. I am really proud of the guys.

“We are not a Leicester squad, we don’t roll internationals off the bench, but we are a courageous squad that is trying to work really hard.”

Leicester's backs coach Paul Burke admitted  later: "Worcester made it difficult for us, they are a good side, they are coached well and they will cause teams a lot of problems this season."

Ryan was less interested in the suggestion that his fly half Mieres had been bitten by Leicester's Dan Cole.

LEICESTER : Morris, Goneva, Allen, Bowden, Thompstone, Lamb, Mele, Mulipola, T. Youngs, Cole, Deacon, Parling, Croft, Salvi, Crane.

Replacements : Williams for Lamb (76) Briggs for T. Youngs (76), Slater for Deacon (61) Waldrom for Crane (64).

Not Used: Stankovich, Balmain, Steele, Dunn.

Tries : Thompstone, Mele, Crane, Goneva.

Cons : Lamb 2, Williams. Pens : Lamb 2.

WORCESTER : Pennell, Drauniniu, Fatiaki, Matavesi, Lemi, Mieres Sua, Becasseau, Shervington, Andress, Williams, Schofield Thomas, Betty, Taulava.

Replacements : Clarke for Matavesi (69), Hodgson for Sua (58) Andrew for Becasseau (69), O'Donnell for Andress (69) Jones for Schofield (54), Abbott for Betty (46).

Not Used: Seymour, Gray.

Tries : Jones, Matavesi. Cons : Mieres. Pens : Mieres.

Sin Bin : Williams (44).

Attendance : 20,230

Referee : Luke Pearce (RFU).