By Geoff Berkeley 06/05 Updated: 06/05 12:07
Northampton Saints 42 Worcester Warriors 14
Geoff Berkeley reports from Franklin’s Gardens
WORCESTER Warriors suffered their fourth successive defeat as they brought their Aviva Premiership campaign to sorry end at Franklin’s Gardens.
Richard Hill’s men looked to be up for the battle against Northampton Saints when Josh Drauniniu’s try quickly cancelled out Chris Ashton’s fourth minute score.
Warriors continued to keep the home side at bay until Shaun Perry’s sin-binning saw the visitors’ leak ten points in three minutes, including a try from Ben Foden, to take a 17-7 lead at half-time.
Kai Horstmann cut back Worcester’s deficit within the opening ten minutes of the second period, but tries from Paul Diggin, Teimana Harrison and Alex Waller secured Northampton the victory.
With Warriors making a total of nine changes to the team which were defeated by London Irish two weeks ago and with Saints aiming to seal their place in the Premiership title play offs, it was clear which team was going to be on top.
And the writing looked to be on the wall for Worcester within the opening five minutes as great work down the left opened up space for Ashton to slip through and dive over. Stephen Myler added the extras to take a 7-0 advantage.
But against the run of play, Worcester responded. Superb work from the departing Chris Fortey set his side on their way before Tom Arscott unleashed Drauniniu to go over for his eighth try of the season. Danny Gray converted to level the tie.
Warriors then withstood heavy pressure from the Saints as they went on to dominate in the scrum and the lineout.
Worcester did their best to hold out but their hard work was undone three minutes before the break as Perry ended a poor first half display by seeing yellow.
His error then led to a penalty in front of the posts, which Myler duly dispatched, before Northampton made the extra man count as Ben Foden went over. Myler added the extras to take a healthy 17-7 advantage at the break.
The home side continued their dominance in the second period and came close to scoring their third try. Foden looked have been released down the right but great cover work from Drauniniu and Matt Kvesic recovered the situation.
It didn’t take long though until they got off the mark as Myler extended their lead with a penalty.
But Worcester were not finished yet as scrum half Jonny Arr appeared to have touched down under the posts before the ball was quickly recycled and Kai Horstmann powered over. Gray knocked over the simple conversion to narrow the deficit at 20-14.
The introduction of replacement Ryan Lamb seemed to settle the hosts’ nerves as they began to regain control again.
The fly half first added a penalty before slotting over an inch-perfect conversion from out-wide following Paul Diggin's try.
Now 30-14 in front and the game virtually wrapped up, Saints finished with a flourish as Harrison crashed over before Waller scored the fifth and final try of the afternoon.
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