Premiership: Worcester Warriors 23-28 Leicester Tigers
|Worcester (13) 23|
|Tries: Pennell, Heem, Olivier Cons: Mills Pens: Mills 2|
|Leicester (16) 28|
|Tries: T Youngs Cons: Burns Pens: Burns 6 Drop-goal: Burns|
Freddie Burns kicked 23 of his side's 28 points as Leicester sealed their place in the Premiership top four with victory over Worcester at Sixways.
Tigers led 16-13 at the break, despite the hosts responding to Tom Youngs' try after half an hour with a score of their own from full-back Chris Pennell.
Winger Bryce Heem's try put Worcester back in front before Burns took charge.
He slotted a drop-goal and took his haul of penalties to six either side of Wynand Olivier's late Warriors try.
Leicester only needed a point to be sure of making the top four, but victory sealed their place in the play-offs for the 13th straight season - and an away semi-final in a fortnight against Wasps.
And, although outscored three tries to one, it was secured by a faultless kicking display from Burns, who departs for Bath at the end of the season, when George Ford will return in the opposite direction to Welford Road.
Worcester's Ryan Mills landed two penalties and a conversion but his two missed kicks and another from the departing Ryan Lamb proved costly for Gary Gold's Warriors, whose 15th defeat in 22 games this season confirmed their 11th-place finish - a place lower than a year ago.
After leading the Warriors team out, the retiring Phil Dowson played the first 49 minutes, taking the 35-year-old's tally of 262 career appearances with Newcastle, Northampton and Worcester - just three short of Steve Borthwick's Premiership record.
Ex-Tigers stand-off Lamb, winger Cooper Vuna and prop Ryan Grant all came off the bench to make their own farewell cameo appearances.
Warriors head coach Gary Gold told BBC Hereford & Worcester:
"Our scrum needs to improve. Silly errors cost us as we seem to go walkabout for 10 minutes in every game.
"You can't afford to kick the ball out on the full as we did on two or three occasions.
"However, it was still a strong performance as we went toe to toe. I'm proud of the effort we put in but I am never going to celebrate a loss.
"Next season we need to continue to improve and hopefully we won't have the constant threat of relegation hanging over us."
Leicester head coach Matt O'Connor:
"It was tough. Worcester, under Gary Gold, are very committed and we knew it would be hard work. But Freddie's game management was brilliant.
"He's a tremendous Tiger. I'm disappointed at not having the opportunity to work with him as he's still got a lot of growth left in him.
"It was an ideal dress rehearsal for the semi-final as it was all about winning, which we did with a strong scrum and a much improved line-out.
"I'm pleased that we don't have to go to Saracens but Wasps are a fantastic side. If you blink, they'll score. We competed very well up there in the league earlier in the season and it was only one score in it at the end. If we are at our best, we can win."
Worcester Warriors: Pennell; Heem, Olivier, Te'o, Humphreys; Mills, Hougaard; Bower, Taufete'e, Milasinovich, O'Callaghan (capt), Spencer, Dowson, Potgieter, Mama.
Replacements: Fa'osiliva for Dowson (49), Singleton for Taufete'e (55), Lamb for Te'o (57), Vuna for Heem (66), Baldwin for Hougaard (70), Barry for O'Callaghan (70), Grant for Bower (72),
Not used: Johnston.
Leicester Tigers: Tait; Thompstone, Roberts, Owen Williams, Betham; Burns Ben Youngs; Genge, Tom Youngs (capt), Cole, Barrow, Kitchener, Mike Williams, O'Connor, Hamilton.
Replacements: Fitzgerald for M. Williams (58), McGuigan for T Youngs (63), Balmain for Cole (67), H. Thacker for Barrow (77), Bateman for Genge (77), Harrison for B Youngs (77), Worth for Tait (79).
Not used: Smith.
Referee: Tom Foley.
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