Premiership: Worcester Warriors 28-20 Newcastle Falcons

By Ged ScottBBC Sport
Bryce Heem has arrived at Sixways after helping Auckland reach the ITM Premiership Cup final down under
Bryce Heem has arrived at Sixways after helping Auckland reach the ITM Premiership Cup final down under
Worcester (28) 28
Tries: Grove 2, Pennell, Heem Cons: Heathcote 4
Newcastle (17) 20
Tries: Young, Catterick Cons: Delany 2 Pens: Delany, Catterick
Relive Saturday's Premiership rugby

Worcester ran in four first-half tries as they claimed a bonus-point win over Newcastle Falcons at Sixways.

Former Scotland centre Alex Grove scored twice after tries from Chris Pennell and new signing Bryce Heem, Tom Heathcote landing all four conversions.

Newcastle got back to within 11 points when Tom Catterick came off the bench to match Micky Young's try.

A penalty from Mike Delany, who also kicked both conversions, proved the game's only second-half score.

That left the frustrated Falcons, who had also kicked a first-half penalty through Catterick, just one score away from a losing bonus point.

It leaves Dean Richards' Newcastle still pointless at the bottom of the table with London Irish, both sides having lost their opening four games.

They are now 10 points behind Worcester, who have been beaten at Sale and Gloucester since winning their opening game against Northampton.

Worcester have now lost just once to Newcastle in their last six Premiership meetings, the 16-11 defeat at Sixways in October 2013 which effectively relegated Warriors two seasons ago, prior to them winning promotion from the Championship at the first attempt in May.

Changes work for Ryan's Worcester

Two-try centre Alex Grove and debutant scorer Bryce Heem were two of the five changes Worcester boss Dean Ryan made from last week's 24-22 loss at Gloucester, one of which was enforced by the late withdrawal of skipper GJ van Velze.

Heem was involved in the opening try in the fifth minute, scored in the right corner by England full-back Chris Pennell.

Although Newcastle got back level inside eight minutes, Heem got on the scoresheet himself when Heathcote launched a clever cross-field kick and Pennell got there narrowly first before sending in the Kiwi winger to score.

Stand-off Tom Heathcote then split the visitors' defence to give Grove the opportunity to outpace Giovanbattista Venditti, and to mark an excellent first half of running rugby, Worcester made it four tries in just 32 minutes when Grove forced his way over for his second to earn Warriors' first winning bonus point of the new campaign.

Richards' Newcastle still need work

Newcastle boss Dean Richards made five changes to his starting XV following the six-try 41-3 battering handed out by Exeter at Kingston Park last Sunday - their heaviest loss in six seasons.

Argentina's Juan Pablo Socino returned from World Cup duty at inside centre, but they suffered a new injury when they lost full-back Alex Tait.

They scored a neat first-half try when a skilful pass from Young sent Ally Hogg through a gap before the scrum-half got up to take the return pass and score. They then got another with the last movement of the first half half from Catterick, on as a replacement for the injured Tait.

But they failed to fully capitalise on a lethargic second-half performance by the home side, landing only Mike Delany's penalty, as they still look for their first point going into next Friday night's European Challenge Cup trip to France to play Brive.

Worcester director of rugby Dean Ryan:

"I'm fed up of talking about relegation issues as I'm sure Dean Richards is. We shouldn't be judged on the past but where we are now.

"We have been competitive in all four matches, picking up 10 points, and we are frustrated that we don't have more.

"We are a very dangerous side and showed what we can do when everything goes right. I'm not at all surprised that we picked up a bonus point by half-time.

"We didn't attack enough in the second half. We are not used to being in dominant positions and we missed GJ van Velze out there as we lost a bit of leadership. He has been a big figure in recent weeks."

Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards:

"Our defence was woeful. It was all over the place and left us with far too much to claw back.

"We defended well in the second half and won it 3-0 but missed a few try-scoring opportunities.

"Our league position is a fair representation of how we've played so far but it's not reflective of the ability of the side.

"We've had a lot of changes over the past few weeks but we've got to get people singing from the same hymn sheet."

Worcester Warriors: Pennell; Heem, Grove, Mills, Vuna; Heathcote, Arr; Rapava Ruskin, Annett, Schonert, O'Callaghan, Barry, Cox, Mama, Dowson (capt).

Replacements: Bregvadze, Leleimalefaga, Rees, O'Shea, Betty, Mulchrone, Lamb, Howard.

Newcastle Falcons: Tait; Venditti, Harris, Socino, Tuilagi; Delany, Young; Vickers, Lawson, Welsh, Botha, Thompson, Welch, Latu, Hogg.

Replacements: McGuigan, Fry, Vea, Robinson, Clever, Tipuna, Catterick, Penny.

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