Boss Mike Ruddock hailed the spirit of his Worcester Warriors as they battled back to claim a crucial 16-16 draw against Newcastle Falcons.
Worcester looked destined for no festive cheer after a disappointing first half at Kingston Park but came alive after the break in a post Christmas cracker.
Captain Fantastic Pat Sanderson crashed over with ten minutes left to set up a tense finale as both teams slugged it out for the win.
Warriors showed great discipline to hold firm in a frantic final few minutes and Director of Rugby Ruddock was delighted that the lessons of a week ago – when a late penalty denied them against Bristol – had been learnt.
“It was a full blooded encounter, it really was quite an exciting game as both sides showed plenty of endeavour,” he said.
“Both sides defended pretty well and I thought Newcastle played very well, they showed their skills by putting the phases together at the end when they kept bashing away at our line.
“But we also showed how disciplined we can be and how much it meant to us no t to lose this game.
“I was really pleased with the character and spirit we showed at the end. We can certainly build on that.
“We thought we were going to be good enough to win the game but we had to battle back from 13-3. My team deserve the plaudits for doing that away from home against a fired up Newcastle team.”
Warriors were still left wondering what could have been after a Chris Pennell try was disallowed by referee Sean Davey.
But Ruddock looked to the positives and the way in which his team had hit back in the second half.
“We felt we had scored. Chris Pennell felt he had scored in the corner but it wasn’t given,” he said.
“Thankfully we scored just after that through Pat, otherwise that would have been a situation that we would have reflected on and been dismayed about.
“Eoghan Hickey kept us in the game with his kicking and there were other chances for us but we were just not clinical enough.
“Our discipline is something we know we must get better and we gave away a lot of penalties again.
“But we will get a lot out of the game. We faced a major uphill battle but we believed in ourselves and were positive. We showed the ability to score and pride to hold out at the end.”