Throwback Thursday | Late penalty try seals Warriors win over Exiles

For today’s Throwback Thursday we go back 15 years to Sunday September 11 2005 and Warriors’ only Premiership win to date at the Madejski Stadium in Reading.

Warriors drew 15-15 with Gloucester in the season opener at Sixways the previous week having again battled back from being behind.

London Irish 15-20 Worcester Warriors

A late penalty try completed a stirring fightback by Warriors and gave them a deserved victory on their second visit to the Madejski Stadium.

Referee Martin Fox ruled that the Irish front row had illegally halted a drive by a rampant Warriors pack in front of their own posts.

Shane Drahm then added a superb 40-metre drop goal in the 80th minute before Irish launched a desperate all-out assault to try and retrieve the situation.

Warriors were penalised three times near their own line, with skipper Pat Sanderson receiving a yellow card for killing the ball – but they held out.

The win marked Warriors’ second successive fightback after they came from behind to draw with Gloucester on the opening day of the season.

They had trailed for much of the match after winger Scott Staniforth poached two first-half tries for Irish.
Speed merchant Staniforth twice won the race to the loose ball behind the Warriors’ line as Irish attempted to follow up their 27-11 opening weekend win over Leeds in the Twickenham double-header.

A handling error by James Brown, Warriors’ former London Irish fly-half, presented his old club with the opening try as the ball was hacked forward and Staniforth got his hand on it first.

Fly-half Barry Everitt converted but then missed an easy penalty.

Brown’s unlucky day continued when he limped off in the 24th minute to be replaced by Drahm, a close-season signing from Northampton, who promptly missed a close-range penalty bang in front of the target.

The cavalier approach of the Exiles cost them a try when Warriors’ number eight Drew Hickey  collected a poor kick in midfield and ran through some weak tackling.

Centre Rodd Penney did well to get back and haul him down from behind but Warriors kept up the momentum from the breakdown to push prop Tony Windo over for a 28th-minute try which Drahm converted to put them level at 7-7.

A minute later Irish were back in front when French international flanker Olivier Magne, making his home debut after signing during the summer, hoisted a speculative kick from the right touchline and Staniforth pounced to get his fingertips to the touchdown inches before the ball went dead.

The usually reliable Everitt, who landed only two of his five kicks, missed the conversion.

Drahm cut the lead to two points with the first of his two well-executed drop goals three minutes later with Everitt landing a penalty for Irish just before half-time.

But their opportunist approach faded in the second half as they were dragged into a forward dogfight by Warriors.

Chris Horsman, the Warriors’ prop, was sin-binned in the 46th minute for a high challenge on Irish flanker Kieron Dawson but Irish full-back Delon Armitage was then yellow carded for blatant obstruction.

“We didn’t play very well. It was an ugly win but we’ll take the points,” said Warriors’ Director of Rugby John Brain.

“Wins in this league are hard to come by and away wins are very hard to come by.

“We battled away. There were times when we were under a lot of pressure but we came through.”

Warriors | 15 Thinus Delport, 14 Jonny Hylton, 13 Dale Rasmussen, 12 Thomas Lombard, 11 Ben Hinshelwood, 10 James Brown 9, Andy Gomarsall, 1 Tony Windo, 2 Andre van Niekerk, 3 Chris Horsman, 4 Phil Murphy, 5 Craig Gillies, 6 Siaosi Vaili, 7 Pat Sanderson (C), 8 Drew Hickey.
Replacements | 16 Mike Macdonald, 17 Chris Fortey, 18 Tim Collier, 19 Kai Horstmann, 20 Matt Powell, 21 Shane Drahm, 22 Mark Tucker.