Worcester Warriors 25 Bristol 5

Let's not pretend Worcester wanted to wait until the end of January to win their first Guinness Premiership match under Mike Ruddock but had the new regime been able to pick their opponents Bristol's scalp would have been as prized as Gloucester's.

Not only did Richard Hill's men heap humiliation upon embarrassment in the first game of last season [2014] a result that almost ended Worcester's campaign at its outset [2014] they returned this year with a familiar face in their backroom staff.

John Brain, now forwards coach at Memorial Stadium, was the man who realised Worcester's raison d'etre when in 2004 he brought Premiership rugby to Sixways.

For six years he stamped his personality on the club to the point the team even played like he spoke - conservatively but intelligently, uncompromisingly and with determination in every syllable.

Brain's departure and subsequent appointment at Bristol has been well documented and all that remained was for his new charges to put one over his old and ensure they stayed winless in the competition where it matters most.

That they didn't was down to the fact Ruddock's pack routed Brain's. The irony that a coach with Ruddock's reputation as a lover of open rugby should beat Brain at his own game should be lost on nobody.

Nowhere was this more true than in the lineout, a discipline in which the former Gloucester lock turned Craig Gillies into one of the best operators in the country.

The shaven-headed giant was exactly that again on Saturday and a combination of athleticism and well-researched homework meant it was Bristol who were shown up in this department at least.

Gillies and fellow lock Greg Rawlinson ruled the airways. Whether it was Mark Regan or Scott Linklater throwing in - the latter had Brain seething with his inaccuracy [2014] Bristol simply couldn't get the ball back. The notion that Brain would have the insider knowledge to win this battle was proved utterly erroneous, indeed Ruddock felt his was the side with the advantage.

"We did our homework on their lineout," Ruddock said. "The boys knew a lot about John's strategies.

"We watched them very closely last Sunday against Cardiff Blues and they disrupted their lineout quite a bit and stopped them playing.

"It was a key part of our strategy. We were very good. We were up in the air and threatened their ball all the time - that was a key area.

"That familiarity with John's methods was a factor. We have a huge amount of respect for him so we made sure we went about our work carefully. We do that for every team but knowing the sort of thing John favours has really helped us."

By the end of the game the visitors had limited means of possession. Gillies stole two defensive throws within the space of a minute. The amount of pressure that takes off a side - particularly one that is looking for its first win [2014] cannot be over-stated.

At that stage they had put a pretty poor first-half performance behind them and were shifting through the gears.

They had trailed to Tom Arscott's tenth-minute try and had only Loki Crichton's penalty to show for their efforts at the break.

Ruddock noted afterwards that his side should have led 6-5 at the interval and would have but for a terrible penalty miss from their fly half.

The Samoan international was errant with four of his eight attempts, two of which were from inside the 22, and on another day it might have cost Worcester.

But their dominance was so complete they could even afford for Crichton to have an offcolour day with ball in hand. The number of times he was gobbled up trying to dummy his way out of trouble will have bothered Ruddock more than the missed goals.

Yet this must ultimately go down as a happy occasion. Crichton eventually did make it 6-5 in the 44th minute and the relief that greeted Pat Sanderson's try was palpable.

The 20-metre catch and drive was classic Brain and it brought his side the breathing space they needed.

Rawlinson's first for Worcester, just after the hour, was the product of a delightfully shortened pass from Crichton following a robust surge along the right from Miles Benjamin.

The youngster was once again his team's most potent attacking threat and had Lesley Vainikolo burst through midfield and away from tacklers the way the 19-year-old did on one first-half break, a starting berth against Wales next week would have been assured.

As it is Benjamin, who has played more games of union that Vainikolo, will instead continue his education in the England Under 20s.

Of all the three-quarter division it was the teenager who deserved a try. Instead it went to Dale Rasmussen who, five minutes from time, spun over from Rico Gear's off-load.

By then the match was won. Ruddock's Worcester are finally off the mark and with more balance to their game and increasing continuity between forwards and backs one can be certain they won't have to wait as long for their second victory.

WORCESTER: Delport; Gear (Pennell 77), Rasmussen (Brown 77), Tuitupou, Benjamin; Crichton, Powell M (Powell R 71); Morris (Black 79), Lutui (Mullan 69), Taumoepeau, Rawlinson, Gillies (Bowley 71), Hickey (Talei 63), Sanderson, Horstmann.

BRISTOL: Arscott L; Arscott T (Robinson 40), Higgitt, Hill, Elliott; Strange (Taumalolo 68) , Beveridge (O'Riordan 52); Clarke (Crompton 66), Regan (Linklater 42), Crompton (Hobson 40), Winters, Hohneck, Salter (Llewellyn 69) To'oala (El Abd 48), Blowers. Replacements not used: Referee: Mr T Spreadbury (RFU)