Highlights & Report | Gloucester Rugby 49-21 Worcester Warriors

Ignore the final scoreline, a hastily-assembled Warriors side had a vastly more experienced Gloucester rattled in the opening match in the defence of the Premiership Rugby Cup.

A squad that included five guest players, including flanker Mat Gilbert, who came out of retirement – plus 41-year-old Academy Coach Jonny Goodridge – who was not required to make his first competitive appearance in nine years went toe-to-toe with Gloucester.

Before lock Freddie Thomas drove over for two late tries, Warriors were in the hunt for two bonus points but those close range flattered Gloucester.

With the future still uncertain, this young Warriors team did the whole club proud and emerged with plenty of credit for their professionalism in adversity.

Fly-half Charlie Titcombe, who has joined the Three Pears Warriors Academy having impressed as a loan player last season, was outstanding, setting up Harri Doel and debutant Alex Wills for tries with precision crossfield kicks.

Titcombe also converted all three Warriors tries and he struck up an effective half-back partnership with Ollie Wynn.

Finn Theobald-Thomas rampaged around the pitch, tackled his heart out and went over for a first half try from a driving maul but this was very much a whole squad effort.

The three guest players who started – Ollie Curry, Lewis Barrett and Ethan Parkins – all fitted in seamlessly and hooker Will Tanner and Gilbert, who ended his career with Cinderford in April to run a pizza business, also contributed to a superb team effort.

When Jack Reeves and Arthur Clark crossed for tries in the first 13 minutes it looked like this might be a mismatch but they spent the rest of the half in defence as Warriors showed aggression in defence and ambition in attack.

Titcombe’s first moment of brilliance set up Doel who scored in front of The Shed for a try that Titcombe converted from the touchline.

Warriors then outmuscled Gloucester’s pack from a lineout drive and Theobald-Thomas emerged with the ball.

Titcombe’s conversion levelled the scores and showed that Warriors had not come simply to fulfil the fixture.

Two tries in four minutes in the third quarter from Reeves and Jack Clement gave Gloucester some breathing space but Titcombe then found Wills, who was playing for Warriors Under-18s last season.

Titcombe levered over the conversion and Warriors had eight minutes to score a fourth try and perhaps secure two bonus points.

Thomas’s two tries ended those hopes with George Barton converting all seven tries but this was a performance that Warriors supporters should be immensely proud of.

Warriors | 15 Tobi Wilson, 14 Harri Doel, 13 Oli Morris, 12 Will Butler (C), 11 Tom Howe, 10 Charlie Titcombe, 9 Ollie Wynn (Tom Miles 67), 1 Kai Owen (Holsey 51), 2 Finn Theobald-Thomas (Tanner 56), 3 Jack Owlett (Couch 62), 4 Ollie Curry, 5 Graham Kitchener (Gilbert 51), 6 Theo Mayell, 7 Lewis Barrett, 8 Ethan Perkins.

Replacements | 16 Will Tanner, 17 Lewis Holsey, 18 Will Crouch, 20 Mat Gilbert, 21 Tom Miles, 22 Alex Wills, 23 Jonny Goodridge.

3m | Reeves try 5-0
4m | Barton con 7-0
13m | Clark try 12-0
14m | Barton con 14-0
28m | Doel try 14-5
29m | Titcombe con 14-7
37m | Theobald-Thomas try 14-12
38m | Titcombe con 14-14
50m | Reeves try 19-14
51m | Barton con 21-14
54m | Clement try 26-14
55m | Barton con 28-14
64m | Seabrook try 33-14
65m | Barton con 35-14
72m | Wills try 35-19
73m | Titcombe con 35-21
75m | Thomas try 40-21
76m | Barton con 42-21
80m | Thomas try 47-21
80m | Barton con 49-21

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