There have been several salient moments this season when Worcester Warriors have underlined their suitability for top-flight rugby union, but none have been more resonant than Sunday's dramatic win at Newcastle Falcons.

Dumped to the foot of the table by events the day before, without two of their best forwards and playing against the side who embarrassed them in their first ever Premiership match, the eyes of the rugby world were on Kingston Park to see if Worcester would at last concede defeat in this season's relegation battle.

Yet underpinned by another monstrous performance from their forwards and inspired by a couple of impudent drop goals, they hauled themselves three places up the table and set aflutter hearts from Northampton to Richmond.

Even Falcons' director of rugby Rob Andrew, who had been so scathing about their ability to cope after the season opener, was forced to admit that Warriors fully deserved their 21-16 triumph and that he has been impressed by the strides his team's conquerors have made.

"They have progressed enormously," Andrew said. "Clearly there is a belief now that they can compete in the Premiership.

"That is the hardest thing for any team coming up to get - the belief that you can actually compete at this level. It probably took them a couple of months to realise that.

"They have done really well this season, they have decided how they are going to play and how to do well in the Premiership. They have become a very, very competitive outfit."

Warriors head coach Andy Keast agreed with Andrew's submission that it had taken them time to find their feet.

"Without a doubt it took us a couple of months to learn how to play in the Premiership and believe we could," Keast said.

"We came into this competition with 20 players who had played in Division One for several years.

"That in itself tells you that when they come out of nappies they have had to learn how to walk properly. That is what we have done."

They have also refused to accept a relegation that seemed almost pre-destined, winning enough games, eight, to have kept them in the league in six of the last seven seasons.

But while Keast is proud of the improvements his men have made since losing their first five games of the campaign, he is also aware that the 38 points they have already amassed, may still

require supplementing.

"Mark Evans said 37 [points] back when we beat them, but I don't know how many will be enough. It could be that we haven't got enough now. We have still got to get some more," he said in reference to the Harlequins director of rugby.

Evans is in charge of one of the five teams burdened by concerns over their Premiership survival. His side are a point behind Worcester and London Irish, one ahead of Northampton and two in front of bottom-placed Leeds Tykes.

Working out who will end up under the table, and whether they will be relegated, is not something Keast cares to try.

"We have to look after our own destiny. It might sound like a clich> but it's so true - we have to," he said. "If you worry about what Leeds do at Kingsholm you will drive yourself into a mental home.

"It goes to show that a win like that takes you from bottom to ninth. It is going to go to the wire.

"Let's hope those four points can go a long way to securing our survival."