European Challenge Cup: Brive 17-14 Worcester Warriors

Marco Mama scores a try for Worcester
Marco Mama scored the only try of the first half, giving Worcester hope of upsetting hosts Brive
European Challenge Cup
Brive (0) 17
Tries: Sanconnie, Ribes Cons: Lapeyre, Germain Pens: Germain
Worcester Warriors (7) 14
Tries: Mama, Rapava Ruskin Cons: Braid, Mills

Worcester's hopes of European progress ended in France as Gaetan Germain's long-range Brive penalty sentenced the Premiership strugglers to defeat.

Marco Mama's powerful run and try put Warriors 7-0 up at half-time.

But the Challenge Cup Pool 3 leaders twice fought back to level.

Fabien Sanconnie went over, only for Val Rapava Ruskin to cross for the Warriors, but Fabian Guillaume's try allowed Germain's penalty to win it with the final kick of the match.

Worcester, who are just one point above the relegation places in England's top flight, had needed to win both their remaining two group games to stand any chance of reaching the quarter-finals of Europe's second-tier competition.

But their narrow defeat leaves them bottom of their group, with Brive four points clear at the top and on the cusp of a spot in the last eight.

Coming off the back of their 55-19 Premiership hammering at Gloucester the previous weekend, Worcester boss Carl Hogg had involved himself more heavily in the build-up to the match at Stade Amedee-Domenech, having previously allowed his backroom staff to take charge of a generally under-strength, second-string line-up in this competition.

Mama, Gloucester-bound Rapava Ruskin, Jonny Arr, Sam Betty and Darren Barry were among the experienced players on the trip to south-west France, while USA international hooker Joe Taufete'e made his debut, but Worcester were still condemned by the Top 14 side to a fourth European loss this season.

Hogg plans to field a largely unchanged squad for Warriors' final group game against Russian club Enisei at Sixways on Saturday.

Warriors coach Carl Hogg told BBC Hereford & Worcester:

"It was about character. We wanted to bounce back from Kingsholm, which we did, but it was cruel to lose with the kick at the death.

"The effort was outstanding. We got our noses in front and got ourselves in a competitive position against a big pack with a lot of power around the scrum and in the drive.

"We want to increase our strength in depth so we will look at similar guys next week, as well as introducing oen or two others."

Brive: Lapeyre; Ngwenya, Galala, Cabannes, Masilevu; Ugalde, Lobzhanidze; Lavergne, Acquier, Bekoshvili, Snyman, Mela (capt), Luafutu, Waqaniburotu, Sanconnie.

Replacements: Ribes, Buys, Jourdain, Uys, Hireche, Pejoine, Tuatara, Germain.

Worcester: Howard; Humphreys, Stelling, Braid, Hammond; Mills, Baldwin; Bower (capt), Taufete'e, Alo, Kitchener, Spencer, Taylor, Mama, Cox.

Replacements: Arr for Baldwin (52), Rapava Ruskin for Bower (52), Singleton for Taufete'e (55), Betty for Taylor (59), Barry for Kitchener (76),

Not Used: Daniels, De Cothi, Eden.

Referee: Ian Davies (Wales).

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