European Challenge Cup: Zebre 27-8 Worcester Warriors
|European Rugby Challenge Cup|
|Zebre (21) 27|
|Tries: Violi, Boni Cons: Canna Pens: Canna 4 Drop Goal: Canna|
|Worcester Warriors (3) 8|
|Try: Hammond Pen: Lamb|
Worcester suffered their first-ever defeat by Italian opposition as they were shocked in the European Challenge Cup by unfancied Zebre in Parma.
The Warriors never recovered from shipping two tries inside the first 14 minutes, Italy stand-off Carlo Canna kicking a conversion, four penalties and a drop goal for a 17-point haul.
Scrum-half Marcello Violi and centre Thomas Boni scored Zebre's two tries.
Worcester replied with Dean Hammond's late try to add to Ryan Lamb's penalty.
Lamb missed the conversion of Warriors' 78th-minute try, but Worcester had long since paid the price for not picking a full-strength side.
|Zebre finally show their stripes|
|Zebre had never previously beaten an English team in Europe. Their only two previous wins in European competition were both against French side Brive|
After opening up with a 19-3 home win over La Rochelle, Warriors made seven changes as they sought a second straight group victory.
Following Gloucester's 33-20 win in La Rochelle on Thursday, when the visitors only managed to score three tries, a bonus-point win for Warriors would have taken them top of Pool 4.
But they were well beaten, going 18-0 down in 20 minutes, triggered by hooker Andrea Manici's burst to set up Violi inside the first 60 seconds.
Canna converted, then added a penalty when Worcester were down to 14 men after flanker Sam Betty was yellow carded on his 100th appearance.
Although he missed with his conversion attempt at Boni's try, Canna slotted a drop goal before Lamb's penalty got Warriors on the board.
Canna kicked another penalty for a 21-3 half-time lead before adding two more in the second half, and although the visitors did at least enjoy the final score of the game from Hammond, it was not enough to prevent only Zebre's third European victory.
Warriors coach Carl Hogg told BBC Hereford & Worcester:
"The second half was a bit better and the try was a consolation, but the contest was lost in that first 40 minutes.
"There were a lot of young players out there and we we have to go away and reflect on what we didn't get it right in the first half.
"You know you have to go places like Parma, front it up and get the basics of the game right.
"We always thought this group might come down to our back-to-back games against Gloucester and it now looks like we'll have to go to Kingsholm and get a result."
Zebre: Palazzani; Berryman, Bisegni, Boni, L Sarto; Canna, Violi; Lovotti, Manici, Chistolini, Geldenhuys, Biagi (capt), J Sarto, Meyer, van Schalkwyk.
Replacements: Ceccarelli for Chistolini (50), Bernabo for Geldenhuys (51), Derbyshire for van Schalkwyk (61), Burgess for Violi (62), De Marchi for Lovotti (68), Fabiani for Manici (68), Padovani for Canna (69
Not Used: Van Zyl.
Worcester Warriors: Howard; Humphreys, Stelling, Grove, Hammond; Lamb, Bruzulier (capt); Bower, Bregvadze, Milasinovich, Sanderson, O'Shea, Kirwan, Betty, Mama.
Replacements: Rees for Milasinovich (47), Biggs for Humphries (62), Mulchrone for Bruzulier (64), Sowrey for Bregvadze (65), Appiah for Bower (67).
Not Used: Barry, Cox, Mills.
Sin bin: Betty.
Referee: Tual Trainini (France).
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