Warriors leapfrogged London Irish in the table with a dominant second half display which brought them their second win of the season at The Stoop and a first bonus point away win of the campaign.
Weather conditions were very different to November when Warriors beat Harlequins in driving rain and numbing cold but the warm sunny weather made for perfect handling conditions and produced a ten try extravaganza which saw Warriors record their biggest winning margin away in the Premiership.
Warriors’ scored five of their six tries – and 33 points – in the second half with scrum-half Francois Hougaard and replacement centre Ollie Lawrence leading the way with a brace apiece.
The scoring was the exact reverse of many recent matches when Warriors had played their best rugby in the first half but struggled to score in the second. Here they dominated the first period but had only a converted try from Hougaard to show for their wealth of possession and territory.
Irish actually led 8-7 at the break despite spending most of the first half camped in their own 22 but Warriors were rewarded for their patience and persistence in the second period when greater precision in attack unpicked Irish. The win completed a second double of the season for Alan Solomons’ men with the first coming against Harlequins, Irish’s temporary landlords.
Irish opened the scoring after four minutes when won a five metres scrum on the right and moved the ball quickly left where Ben Loader was given an easy run-in.
Warriors regrouped and produced some patient rugby in attack only to undo the good work with a fumble or stray pass when the line beckoned.
Warriors should have scored when they stole an Irish lineout and launched a sweeping attack but Melani Nanai’s pass to Noah Heward was forward.
Warriors eventually scored in the 26th minute when Hougaard made ground, Niall Annett burrowed towards the line and Hougaard finished the job he had started.
Duncan Weir added the conversion and Irish were reduced to 14 men for ten minutes when flanker Isaac Curtis-Harris was sin-binned for a high tackle on Annett.
Irish regained the lead with a Jackson penalty right on the stroke of half-time but Warriors hit their hosts hard at the start of the second half with Lawrence’s blistering pace and power opening up the defence to set up Hougaard for his second try.
The decisive score came when referee Craig Maxwell-Keys reversed a penalty he had awarded to Irish after he spotted their centre Terrence Hepetema barging into Ethan Waller in a ruck, an act of foul play confirmed by the TMO.
Hepetema was sin binned, Warriors kicked the penalty to touch, won the lineout and Weir delivered a perfectly-weighted pass to Nanai who raced clear for a brilliant score.
Ashley Beck then set up Lawrence for his first try and the bonus point with another perfectly timed pass although Irish pulled a try back through Albert Tuisue from a lineout catch and drive.
Lawrence’s second try gave Warriors a 20 points cushion which Irish nibbled away at with unconverted tries from Ben Meehan and Tom Homer.
But Warriors had the final say with an unstoppable drive from a last minute lineout from which wing Tom Howe emerged with the ball. The final try equalled Warriors’ best away haul in the Premiership, equalling the six they scored at Leicester in September 2018 when they scored their most points on the road in the competition – 44.
Warriors | 15 Melani Nanai, 14 Tom Howe, 13 Francois Venter (Lawrence 41), 12 Ashley Beck (Lawrence 27-36), 11 Noah Heward, 10 Duncan Weir (Searle 71), 9 Francois Hougaard (Simpson 77), 1 Ethan Waller (Black 71), 2 Niall Annett (Cutting 64), 3 Nick Schonert (Palframan 71), 4 Anton Bresler (Dodd 72), 5 Graham Kitchener (Lewis 68), 6 Ted Hill (C), 7 Matt Kvesic, 8 Cornell du Preez.
Replacements | 16 Beck Cutting, 17 Callum Black, 18 Richard Palframan, 19 Tom Dodd, 20 Sam Lewis, 21 Gareth Simpson, 22 Billy Searle, 23 Ollie Lawrence.
4m | Loader try 5-0
26m | Hougaard try 5-5
27m | Weir con 5-7
40m | Jackson pen 8-7
42m | Hougaard try 8-12
43m | Weir con 8-14
49m | Nanai try 8-19
50m | Weir con 8-21
58m | Lawrence try 8-26
59m | Weir con 8-28
63m | Tuisue try 13-28
64m | Jackson con 15-28
70m | Lawrence try 15-33
71m | Weir con 15-35
74m | Meehan try 20-35
79m | Homer try 25-35
80m | Howe try 25-40