EDF ENERGY CUP: Worcester 14 Harlequins 27
Worcester missed the chance to progress to the knockout stages of the EDF Energy Cup by going down 27-14 to the Quins in their final group game.
Quins were deserved winners as a poor performance by Worcester left them far too much to do in the second half.
The home side never looked like obtaining the four tries they needed to threaten the qualification of Ospreys.
Despite having no chance of progressing to the knockout stages of the competition, Quins surprisingly chose to field a near first-choice side – missing only their England squad members plus Tom Guest, who was a late withdrawal.
The visitors were anxious to repeat last month’s 30-23 Guinness Premiership win at Sixways and started stronger.
Harlequins dominated the opening exchanges and after 10 minutes scored the first try.
From a scrum five metres out Andy Gomarsall fed Jordan Turner-Hall, who set up the ruck from which Chris Robshaw was driven over. Chris Malone converted and four minutes later extended the lead with a penalty.
Worcester responded almost immediately with a try from Jake Abbott which Matthew Jones converted and then the Quins were dealt a further blow on 20 minutes when Turner-Hall went off with a leg injury, to be replaced by De Wet Barry. The revival in Worcester’s fortunes was short-lived as Malone kicked another penalty on 24 minutes as his side continued to have all the territory and possession.
It came as no surprise when they went further ahead 34 minutes when, from a metre scrum, Malone and Seb Stegmann executed a pre-planned scissors movement for Stegmann to score which Malone converted.
Quins number eight Phil Davies became the second player from his team to be helped from the pitch just before half-time – and with Jones missing a penalty for Worcester the visitors led 20-7 at half-time.
Worcester were desperately poor in the first half so influential captain Pat Sanderson was introduced immediately on the resumption to play his first match of the season.
It almost immediately paid dividends as he crashed over to finish off a strong-running burst from Sam Tuitupou, with Jones converting.
Nick Evans was introduced by the Quins on 47 minutes but now it was the home side’s turn to dominate, looking a vastly different team to the one who had performed with so little passion in the first half.
However, the Quins defence held firm with Robshaw and Will Skinner outstanding.
With the last movement of the match Tosh Masson intercepted and the Quins broke away for Mike Brown to score – Nick Evans converting to conclude the scoring.
WORCESTER: Latham, Gear, Grove, Tuitupou, Pennell, M. Jones, M. Powell (R Powell, 59), Mullan, Lutui, Tuamoepeau (Morris, 69), Rawlinson, Kitchener (Gillies, 50), Cox, Abbott (Sanderson, 41), Talei. Replacements not used: Fortey, Crichton, Fellows.
Tries: Abbott, Sanderson. Cons: M. Jones 2.
QUINS: Brown, T. Williams, Masson, Turner-Hall (Barry, 19), Stegmann, Malone (N Evans, 47), Gomarsall, Jones, Botha, Ross (Lambert, 78), Kohn, J. Evans (Robson, 47), Robshaw, Skinner, Davies (Mcmillan, 38).
Replacements not used: Fuga, G. Williams.
Tries: Robshaw, Stegmann, Masson. Cons: Malone 2, N. Evans. Pens: Malone 2.
Ref: Dean Richards (RFU).