Worcester 25 Saracens 24
Two oval-ball cultures collided to devastating effect on Saturday as Worcester rediscovered their flair for doing the unexpected.
Before this match, the Warriors' season had bumbled along with a pair of impressive results garnered from two turgid performances, yet all that changed in the 80 throbbing minutes the two most physical sides in the Premiership spent on the same pitch.
The home team retained their trademark grunt and rumble, a punishing scrum and irresistible driving maul, both of which were devised by director of rugby John Brain and delivered by Tony Windo and had 'Made in Gloucester' stamped on their powerful rumps.
But they also produced an unfamiliar joie de vivre in their counter-attacking play provided by the mercurial three-quarter Nicolas Le Roux, who illuminated the proceedings on his competitive Worcester debut.
The little Frenchman, for in this land of behemoths there is no other way to describe him, sparkled throughout, from his first chip and chase to his last desperate tackle and was rightfully identified as the man of the match.
Le Roux is apparently 5ft 10ins - he must have been wearing his platforms the day they took that measurement - and 4lbs short of 12 stone - again, his shirt must have been wet - but what is not in doubt is that he runs like the wind and fizzes around with Gallic flair.
Le Roux was a joy to behold and it is no mean praise to say that the 28-year-old even outshone Saracens' own Impin- Chief, Thomas Castaignede.
His ball handling was above anything Worcester have produced since their ascent to the Premiership, his positional kicking was intelligent, if not always 100 per cent accurate, while the courage of his defence belied his small stature.
The visitors' lock, Kris Chesney, clearly spotted the danger Le Roux presented to his team and took matters into his own hands midway through the first half. Chesney was right to identify Le Roux as the main source of danger because, although Warriors had yet to score, the two penalty chances they had spurned had both been created by the former Brive man.
But there can be no condoning the way he went about trying to negate Le Roux's impact on the match.
Having dragged him into touch, the giant second row gave his opponent one last shove in the back that smashed him into the Saracens team water butt and virtually over the advertising hoardings.
It was a malevolent attack from a man eight inches and six stones heavier, when the ball was dead and completely without provocation.
The place erupted, players threw themselves at each other swinging fists and grappling for headlocks and three cards were produced.
Sarries' scrum-half Alan Dickens and Worcester's Andre van Niekerk were both shown yellow cards for their part in the scuffle, as was Chesney.
How referee Dave Pearson can consider the ensuing melee as serious as the original offence is beyond belief. It was remarkable that the only thing Le Roux suffered was a drenching.
Worcester's new head coach, Anthony Eddy, presumably felt his side had already exacted enough retribution by winning at the death and kindly suggested Chesney's penalty had been sufficiently harsh.
Saracens director of rugby, Steve Diamond, agreed but had the temerity to quibble with the sanction imposed on Dickens.
" He is a young scrum-half who ran over handbagging and I don't think that warrants a yellow card," he said.
" You just want consistency. There was a stamping around the neck and the head region on [Hugh] Vyvyan in the second-half and if a quiet word is all that necessary for that, then a scrum-half flinging his hands around warrants the same."
The game can do without such disingenuousness.
The incident involving the visiting captain was not edifying but he was infringing at the time and there is a question mark over intent. The same cannot be said for Chesney.
Let this not detract, though, from a wonderful day for Worcester.
They had lost the corresponding match by a point last season, so to win this one by a similar margin was hugely enjoyable.
And to do it so late made it even more so. Somehow, Diamond's side had fashioned themselves a six-point lead going into the last minute having scored four tries, two in each half.
When Dan Scarborough strolled in for his second with seven minutes to go, Castaignede and Richard Haughton had also scored and it looked as though Worcester would be denied once again, particularly as they were neutered by the fact that the game had gone to uncontested scrums.
But their response was superb. They drove straight through their guests and might have claimed the allimportant try when Pat Sanderson barged over.
The skipper's effort was not recognised by Mr Pearson but there was no doubting Windo's success, as his 81st minute touchdown was complemented by a penalty try and Drew Hickey's first of the season.
That brought the scores to 24-23 and Shane Drahm had a simple conversion to win it. He obliged and, for the second week running, his side had a late victory. But this time, justice had been done.