Warriors rewarded the first sell-out crowd at Sixways since April 2018 with a hard-fought win over tenacious Irish.
Tries from Duncan Weir – who contributed 13 points – and Jono Lance helped set up the win which would have been more comfortable but for a high error count.
For the third consecutive home match Warriors’s opponents had a man sent off. This time it was Irish hooker Motu Matu’u who was shown a red card for a head-on-head tackle on Weir six minutes before half-time. Weir played on but left the pitch early in the second half with a jaw injury having notched his 350th point for Warriors.
The dismissal appeared to galvanise Irish who were disruptive at the breakdown and dogged in defence but Warriors showed patience and eventually got their reward when Lance crossed for the decisive score midway through the second half.
But the win gave Warriors four valuable points and meant that only Exeter Chiefs – twice – won at Sixways in the Premiership in 2019.
Warriors almost made the perfect start as they laid siege to the line after Irish coughed up Weir’s kick-off .
It looked like the pressure had told when Tom Howe crossed and referee Ian Tempest awarded the try before he decided to check the grounding with Television Match Official David Rose.
Replays showed that Howe had the ball dislodged from his grasp inches from the ground and the try was disallowed.
It was Irish who took the lead, very much against the run of play, when Stephen Myler stroked over a 14th minute penalty.
But the lead lasted only three minutes before Weir nipped in for a try which punished Irish full-back Alivereti Veitokani for attempting a chip from his own 22, rather than clearing for touch. Warriors snaffled the ball, built the pressure and Weir nipped in for the try which he also converted.
Further Warriors pressure was rewarded with two more Weir penalties in a four minute period and Irish were then reduced to 13 men when prop Allan Dell was sin-binned for an off-the-ball tackle on Francois Hougaard and Matu’u was sent off three minutes later.
Warriors were unable to add more points while they had a two man advantage and Dell returned for the final minute of the first half.
Myler pulled Irish to within a converted try when he slotted a 42nd minute penalty but most of the second half belonged to Warriors who battered away.
Persistence and pressure was rewarded when Ryan Mills gathered a chip ahead and turned defence into attack with Ashley Beck and Francois Hougaard combining superbly to set up Lance who galloped away and converted his own try, his first for the club.
Warriors missed out on a try bonus point but drew consolation from denying Irish a losing bonus point despite their late attempts to attack from deep.
Warriors | 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Perry Humphreys, 13 Ashley Beck 12 Ryan Mills, 11 Tom Howe, 10 Duncan Weir (Lance 53), 9 Francois Hougaard (Heaney 60), 1 Callum Black (Bower 73), 2 Matt Moulds (C), 3 Nick Schonert (Palframan 37), 4 Anton Bresler (Fatialofa 62), 5 Graham Kitchener, 6 Ted Hill, 7 Sam Lewis, 8 Cornell du Preez (van Velze 57).
Replacements | 16 Isaac Miller, 17 Ryan Bower, 18 Richard Palframan, 19 Michael Fatialofa, 20 GJ van Velze, 21 Michael Heaney, 22 Jono Lance, 23 Jamie Shillcock.
15m | Myler pen 0-3
17m | Weir try 5-3
18m | Weir con 7-3
24m | Weir pen 10-3
28m | Weir pen 13-3
43m | Myler pen 13-6
59m | Lance try 18-6
60m | Lance con 20-6