Heroic Delport seals derby day triumph

Last action hero Thinus Delport scored a stunning try in the final seconds to stun his former club and hand Worcester Warriors a first ever win over local rivals Gloucester.

Centre Sam Tuitupou gave the home side a dream start with a try inside the first two minutes and a superb team try from speedster Miles Benjamin put Warriors 12-0 ahead,

Gloucester roared back with tries from Lesley Vainikolo and Rory Lawson to snatch the half-time lead.

The second half was hit by torrential rain and despite a brave effort Warriors – who lost Marcel Garvey when he was stretchered off in the first half – they looked set to run up short.

But with just a minute left the ball was spun wide and up popped Delport to score a famous late try and send wet and soggy Sixways into wild celebrations.

Worcester named the same starting line-up for the fourth consecutive game with the only changes on the bench as Darrren Morris and Rico Gear returned and Jonny Arr was handed a spot.

Torrential rain and high winds greeted both teams to Sixways Stadium as the bumper sell-out crowd prepared for a huge derby clash in appalling conditions.

Local lad Luke Narraway picked up the kick off and was soon hit by fired up home skipper Pat Sanderson as both teams traded some meaty early blows.

Turnover ball was Sanderson pick up and he fed Sam Tuitupou who tore a huge hole in the Gloucester and cruised over inside a minute. Shane Drahm added the extras for a dream 7-0 lead.

The Cherry and Whites looked ragged after the early blow with Olly Morgan failing to find touch after collecting a high swirling ball before Drahm’s ambitious long pass failed to find Marcel Garvey who was eager to impress against his old club.

Ryan Lamb knocked on after a poor pass to his feet and Worcester were handed another good attacking platform. But Gloucester were quick to stop the danger and neat work at the breakdown won the ball back.

Craig Gillies was at his poaching best to steal an early lineout and Lesley Vainikolo got his hands on the ball only to be thumped back by the home defence and be penalised for holding on.

Tuitupou’s clever grubber forced Morgan to dive into touch as Worcester again looked to exert some early pressure with the wind at their backs.

Lamba again failed to find touch with a simple kick and when Worcester went through the hands they made yards with Gillies popping up to make a break in midfield.

Worcester still looked the more dominant with Dale Rasmussen next to make a break in midfield and feeding Sanderson and Tuitupou as Warriors showed slick hands in awful conditions to rumble up close. Matt Powell then peeled off and was brought up short by Vainikolo before the forwards surged close only to be held up. The scrum held firm and Tuitupou again looked to make the final surge only to knock forward.

Gloucester had posed no threat in the opening 20 minutes and were having to do all the defending to keep Worcester from grabbing a second try of the afternoon.

The rain halted at the midway stage of the first half but it was still a tidal wave of gold and blue pressure with a quite stunning second score. Powell on the loop fed Thinus Delport and he quickly grubber kicked through for Garvey to collect and feed Miles Benjamin who showed great power to storm over. Drahm was wide with the conversion but Warriors took a 12-0 lead.

Gloucester looked to hit back and Lamb kicked for the corner after Rasmussen was penalised for playing the ball off his feet. The Cherry and Whites turned the screw and Balshaw looked to go through only to be crunched by Rasmussen and loose the ball. Seconds later the dangerous free running James Simpson-Daniel made a break and fed Akapusi Qera only for the back row to lose his composure and get tackled by Benjamin when he had a run in.

The effort being put in by Warriors was summed up by Sanderson whose shirt was hanging off his back as he lined up tackle after tackle.
Gloucester hit back eight minutes before the break when neat hand left paid off and Vainikolo took the pass and crashed past Garvey to score. Lamb finally found his kicking boots to cut the lead to 12-7.

Garvey was left on the ground after the big hit from Vainikolo and was replaced by Rico Gear after a stoppage of several minutes and being stretchered off.

The hold-off seemed to affect Worcester more and just seconds before the break the visitors stole the half-time lead when Rory Lawson raced through a gap. Lamb added the extras for a 12-14 lead.

Scotland international Chris Paterson entered the battle for the visitors at the interval and it was Gloucester who picked up where they left off by applying all the early second half pressure.

Worcester looked to ease the heat with Delport and Gear combining with the New Zealander’s neat kick inside as he was pushed into touch very nearly running into the path of Rasmussen.

A penalty saw Drahm kick to touch and Gillies collected up high to set up the catch and drive only for that to be shunted back. Seconds later Warriors again looked to drive over in the lashing rain but were called back for crossing.

Gloucester were straight back on the attack after Drahm’s pass was picked off with Morgan looking to latch onto a hack forward only for it to run out.

The weather conditions continued to worsen as the half wore on with Darren Morris replacing Tony Windo to freshen up the front row as the handling errors continued to escalate.

Drew Hickey was also introduced for the hard working Tom Wood as the game entered the final quarter with everything to play for.
Worcester were struggling to get up a head of steam in horrid conditions as they battled to get out of their own half as a rain storm hit Sixways.

Benjamin raced after a punt from Delport only for Paterson to clear his lines and Drahm’s high up and under caught the wind and drifted out on the full.

Young duo Jonny Arr and Matt Mullan were brought on as Worcester looked for a grandstand finish in the last ten minutes. But they could find no way past a well marshalled Gloucester defence.

Tuitupou collected Drahm’s clever kick and forced Morgan to carry the ball over his own line for a five metre scrum. Worcester sensed late glory and when the forwards took the ball on it was flipped by Benjamin to Delport who dived over for a famous win.

1m Tuitupou t Drahm c 7-0
19m Benjamin 12-0
32m Vainikolo t Lamb c 12-7
40m Lawson t Lamb c 12-14
79m Delport t 17-14

Warriors: 01 Tony Windo (Morris 54 (Taumoepeau 76), 02 Aleki Lutui, 03 Tevita Taumoepeau (Mullan 71), 04 Greg Rawlinson, 05 Craig Gillies, 06 Tom Wood (Hickey 60), 07 Pat Sanderson, 08 Kai Horstmann, 09 Matt Powell (Arr 71), 10 Shane Drahm, 11 Marcel Garvey (Gear 33), 12 Sam Tuitupou, 13 Dale Rasmussen, 14 Miles Benjamin, 15 Thinus Delport

Replacements: 16 Darren Morris, 17 Matt Mullan, 18 Will Bowley, 19 Drew Hickey, 20 Joe Carlisle, 21 Jonny Arr, 22 Rico Gear