23 - 34HT -

Sixways
Att TBC
Sat 15 Jan 22

Highlights & Report | Worcester Warriors 23-34 RC Toulon

Warriors’ fightback came too late to prevent Toulon leaving Sixways with a bonus point win in the first-ever meeting between the clubs.

Two individual tries from Duhan van der Merwe and Harri Doel gave Warriors a chance of salvaging at least a bonus point but by that stage they were 25 points down and time was running out.

The game was decided at the breakdown where Toulon were physical and dominant and Warriors were frequently frustrated in attack.

To complete a disappointing evening Warriors lost loosehead prop Marc Thomas midway through the first half with a serious ankle injury which led to him being stretchered off.

After the disappointment of having the previous home match against Biarritz, which was postponed last month, cancelled with both sides taking two points, Warriors will now need a maximum points win from their final pool match against Zebre in Parma next Saturday to have any chance to making it to the knockout stages.

Warriors started well and ensured that early pressure was rewarded with Fin Smith landing two well-struck penalties in the first 16 minutes with one from his opposite number, Anthony Belleau, sandwiched in between.

Smith struck for a third time after 25 minutes when play resumed after a lengthy stoppage while Thomas received on-field treatment before being taken off on a stretcher to warm and sympathetic applause.

But it was Toulon who ended the half strongly with two tries in a six-minute spell.

First Cornell du Preez was driven over from a lineout to mark his return to Sixways with a try. Then number Facunda Isa clattered his way over after Warriors had done well to check the initial driving maul from another line out catch-and-drive.

Belleau stretched Toulon’s lead with a penalty four minutes into the second half and the three-times Champions Cup winners then pulled clear with left wing Gabin Villiere crossing on an overlap after a period of sustained pressure and replacement prop Beka Gigashvili driving over from close range for the bonus point score

Warriors saved their best for the final quarter with van der Merwe conjuring a try from nothing to bring the crowd to life.

Doel, who came into the side as a late replacement for Perry Humphreys who returned a positive COVID test, scored the try of the night when he snaffled a stray pass on his 10m line and outpaced the covering defence for a spectacular individual try.

Just ten months ago Doel was playing for Swansea University and Scarlets Academy and to impress against one of the giants of European rugby shows just how far he has come in a short period of time.

Warriors | 15 Jamie Shillcock (Beck 39-40), 14 Harri Doel, 13 Oli Morris, 12 Francois Venter (CC), 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Fin Smith, 9 Gareth Simpson, 1 Marc Thomas (Waller 24), 2 Niall Annett (Baldwin 59), 3 Christian Judge (McCallum 45), 4 Matt Garvey (Clegg 45), 5 Joe Batley, 6 Kyle Hatherell, 7 Ted Hill (CC), 8 Matt Kvesic (Vailanu 49).

Replacements | 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Murray McCallum, 19 Justin Clegg, 20 Sam Lewis, 21 Sione Vailanu, 22 Will Chudley, 23 Ashley Beck.

Timeline
3m | Smith pen 3-0
6m | Smith pen 6-0
16m | Belleau pen 6-3
25m | Smith 9-3
31m | du Preez try 9-8
32m | Belleau con 9-10
37m | Isa try 9-15
38m | Belleau con 9-17
44m | Belleau pen 9-20
51m | Villere try 9-25
52m | Belleau con 9-27
60m | Gigashvili try 9-32
61m | Belleau con 9-34
62m | van der Merwe try 14-34
63m | Smith con 16-34
68m | Doel try 21-34
69m | Smith con 23-34

Competition: EPCR Challenge Cup
Venue: Sixways
Referee:
Game Type:
Fixture Round:
Attendance:
No. Name T C D P
8 Facundo Isa 1T
7 Raphael Lakafia
6 Cornell du Preez 1T
5 Lopeti Timani 1T
4 Swan Rebbadj
3 Kieran Brookes
2 Mike Sosene-Feagai
15 Aymeric Luc
14 Jiuta Wainiqolo
13 Rayan Rebbadj
12 Dorian Laborde
11 Gabin Villiere 1T
10 Anthony Belleau 4C 2P
9 Baptiste Serin
1 Jean-Baptiste Gros
Replacements
16 Anthony Etrillard
17 Florian Fresia
18 Beka Gigashvili
19 Quinn Roux
20 Julien Ory
21 Mathieu Smaili
22 Julien Blanc
23 Gervais Cordin

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