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By Geoff Berkeley Monday 12 November 2012 Updated: 12/11 09:59
Worcester Warriors 34 Llanelli Scarlets 18
Geoff Berkeley reports from Sixways
FOUR second half tries saw Worcester Warriors come from behind to secure a bonus point victory over Llanelli Scarlets and get their LV= Cup campaign off to a flyer at Sixways.
Worcester’s bid to progress in the competition looked to be heading for an immediate set back when Andy Fenby went over to give the Welsh visitors a 13-6 advantage at the interval.
But Richard Hill’s men came out fighting in the second half and eventually brought the match back on level terms when Ben Howard eased over the whitewash.
Scarlets had chances to retake the lead, but Warriors showed more grit and determination as Semisi Taulava and Jake Abbott forced their way over.
Kristian Phillips got one back for the away side, but the hosts completed a stunning fightback with a last-gasp try from Neil Best.
With Warriors’ goal to bring Heineken Cup rugby to Sixways next season via a top six finish in the Aviva Premiership already appearing a little too ambitious, a run in the competition could be the answer, especially with the incentive of playing in front of a home crowd in the final.
But first, Worcester will need to come out on top in their group, which sees them pitted against Scarlets, London Wasps, London Irish and Saracens.
And they got off to a superb start to getting over their opening hurdle when Joe Carlisle stepped up to fire his side into an early lead.
Scarlets fly half Owen Williams quickly cancelled that out with a penalty of his own as the first 15 minutes saw the pair trade kicks to level the scores at 6-6.
But it was Scarlets who were edging the early stages and soon made it count when they struck with a superb breakaway try.
Phillips sped away down the right before kicking the ball into space for the onrushing Fenby to gather and score. Williams added the extras to give his side a seven point advantage.
Worcester tried to respond but Scarlets' forwards were proving too strong at the breakdown.
Tempers then flared after Jones was pulled down in the line-out which resulted in Dean Schofield and Joe Snyman both seeing yellow.
The away side could have extended their lead before the interval, but Williams failed to find the target.
The fly half's woes from the tee continued in the second period as he missed the first scoring chance of the half.
With the visitors letting Worcester off the hook, the home side grew in confidence and eventually found the try they were searching for.
After heavy pressure on Scarlets' line, the ball was spun wide to Howard to go over, which Carlisle converted to level the scores.
Scarlets had the chance to restore their advantage moments later, but Williams once again saw his penalty effort drop short.
Worcester, meanwhile, were beginning to click as they piled on the pressure,
And after Andy Short was denied a try in the corner, Worcester upped the ante again before Taulava barged over the line. Carlisle added the extras.
The momentum was with Warriors and they soon added a third when Abbott was driven over, which Carlisle converted from out wide to move Worcester clear at 27-13.
Phillips gave Scarlets a glimmer of hope with a try with three minutes, but Best finished off the match with a try at the death after Ed Shervington was just stopped short.
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