Saints survive scare to pile more misery on Worcester

Tom Wood is congratulated on his try against Worcester (pictures: Fatima Mirzai/Linda Dawson)

Tom Wood is congratulated on his try against Worcester (pictures: Fatima Mirzai/Linda Dawson)

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Saints overcame a scare as a second-half flourish gave them a 33-10 victory against Worcester Warriors at Sixways.

Jim Mallinder’s men were 7-6 down at the break, but tries from Samu Manoa, Tom Collins and former Worcester flanker Tom Wood ensured the win.

STAYING ON - Tom Wood has signed a new Saints deal (Picture: Fatima Mirzai)

STAYING ON - Tom Wood has signed a new Saints deal (Picture: Fatima Mirzai)

Stephen Myler’s accuracy with the boot - the fly-half didn’t miss a kick as he racked up 18 points - was also a key factor.

For Worcester it was a ninth Aviva Premiership defeat in as many games this season, but their fans were given hope when Ignacio Mieres went over just before half-time.

Saints kept their cool, though, introducing the likes of Tom Mercey, Courtney Lawes and Phil Dowson from the bench as they claimed a seventh successive win in all competitions.

Worcester had threatened from the off and they had the chance to get ahead early on, but Mieres fluffed his kick, which flew to the left of the posts.

Pictures by Linda Dawson

Pictures by Linda Dawson

Saints also survived a lineout deep in their own territory before starting to assert their authority with some dangerous running from wing Collins causing problems.

Warriors eventually infringed, giving Myler the chance to put his side 3-0 up, and he wasn’t prepared to reject the invitation.

And the fly-half was at it again soon after, bisecting the posts after Saints had gone close to scoring through Ken Pisi, who was stopped just short.

Pisi did think he’d scored soon after, but he was denied by the TMO, who, after a lengthy look the the replays, deemed there had been a forward pass in the build-up.

Pictures by Fatima Mirzai

Pictures by Fatima Mirzai

Worcester’s efforts at the other end were being hampered by some poor passing, with Mieres one of the main culprits.

But the home 10 turned jeers into cheers as Paul Hodgson charged down Myler’s attempted clearance kick and Mieres picked up to score.

He added the extras to put Worcester in the lead for the first time before rattling the bar with a penalty from close to halfway.

The ball bounced back out and only a lack of vision from Chris Pennell prevented Dean Hammond from getting the chance to score.

Pictures by Linda Dawson

Pictures by Linda Dawson

Saints won a penalty to ensure they only went in one point down and they were soon ahead in the second half as Myler made a spell of concerted pressure pay by landing an easy penalty.

But the Warriors were working hard and Hammond’s clever chip and run played a part in earning a penalty that full-back Pennell landed to put his side back in front.

Saints were desperate for a foothold in the game, craving a response, and they sent for Tom Mercey and Courtney Lawes in a bid to recover.

But Worcester were proving a tough nut to crack and the home crowd were stepping up the noise levels as they sensed a huge upset.

James Stephenson did some great work to ensure that prospect remained very much on as he got to the ball before Collins could touch down.

But Worcester couldn’t hold out for long as the pressure was immediately put on in the lineout and the away forwards did some hard yards to send Manoa over.

Pictures by Fatima Mirzai

Pictures by Fatima Mirzai

Myler made it 16-10 to Saints before extending the lead to nine points with a penalty as Worcester began to get on the wrong side of referee Tim Wigglesworth.

The home side were starting to crumble and Saints were turning the screw, with Collins going over for his first senior try and Myler making the conversion.

In what was starting to become a crazy finish, Saints were sensing the bonus point as former Warriors man Wood stormed over.

Myler made it 33-10 and the away side had six minutes to find a fourth score, which would have brought a bonus point.

Worcester: Pennell; Stephenson, Grove, Matavesi, Hammond; Mieres, Hodgson (Su’a 44); Fainga’anuku, Brooker (Shervington 50), O’Donnell (Andress 58), Percival, Galarza, de Carpentier, Betty, Thomas (c).

Replacements: Porter, Williams, Jones, Warwick, Stelling.

Saints: G Dickson (Artemyev 76); K Pisi, Waldouck, Burrell (Stephenson 73), Collins; Myler, L Dickson; A Waller (E Waller 67), Hartley (c) (Haywood 72), Ma’afu (Mercey 52), Manoa, Day (Lawes 52), Clark (Dowson 52), Wood, Dickinson.

Replacements: A Day.

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth

Attendance: 7,608

Pictures by Linda Dawson

Pictures by Linda Dawson