Premiership: Duncan Weir gives Worcester Warriors win over Saracens

Chris Pennell
Chris Pennell scores Worcester's second try to help them on their way to a bonus-point win over Saracens
Gallagher Premiership
Worcester Warriors: (14) 31
Tries: Fatialofa, Pennell, Hill, Adams Con: Weir 4 Pen: Weir
Saracens: (16) 29
Tries: Tompkins, Bosch Con: Whiteley 2 Pen: Whiteley 5

Duncan Weir's last-minute penalty saw Worcester Warriors defeat the newly-crowned Champions Cup winners Saracens.

After Sarries infringed as the clock ticked into the red, the Scottish international's successful kick sparked jubilant scenes at Sixways.

A 19-point haul from Saracens scrum-half Tom Whiteley looked to have secured victory before the late drama.

The defeat for a much-changed Saracens side came just a week after their European title win over Leinster.

Whiteley's penalty opened the scoring in the fifth minute, before Worcester hit back through lock forward Michael Fatialofa's first Warriors try.

Whiteley added another penalty before Saracens were reduced to 14 men, when David Strettle was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on.

The visitors took the lead for the first time just after the half-hour mark when Nick Tompkins pounced on a mistake by Weir to go under the posts.

Worcester went back in front through Chris Pennell but another penalty from Whiteley gave Saracens a narrow two-point lead at the break.

Whiteley stretched that advantage in the 50th minute, before Worcester's young England international flanker Ted Hill crashed over from close range and Marcelo Bosch dotted down at the other end.

Grand Slam-winning Wales winger Josh Adams - one of five departing home players making their final appearance - scored the bonus-point try for Worcester. And then it was left to Weir to kick the winning points.

Second-placed Saracens play Gloucester in next Saturday's play-off semi-final, whereas Warriors finished the season in 10th, a place higher than the last two years - above relegated Newcastle Falcons and Leicester Tigers. And, in terms of Premiership points, their second-best effort in 13 seasons at this level.

Warriors director of rugby Alan Solomons told BBC Hereford & Worcester:

"It was a fantastic way to finish. When Duncan Weir lost possession and they had a scrum, I thought the game had gone. However we scrummaged magnificently.

"Full marks to Duncan for succeeding with a pressure kick. He's kicked and played well all season. You have to have a reliable goal-kicker.

"It was a pretty tight game which could have gone either way but we gifted them 10 points as we needed to be more patient.

"We are much fitter and have picked up some resilience and have learned to fight to the end. This is the most powerful Premiership ever. There are no weak teams."

Saracens boss Mark McCall:

"It was a very valuable exercise for the youngsters to play away in the Premiership so to lose in that fashion was painful for them - but they will learn from it.

"We did a lot of good things to get into a winning position as we were much better in the second half. Despite not having our first-choice side, we expect to win these games as I believe we outplayed Worcester at times.

"Tom Whiteley was phenomenal. His goal-kicking was exceptional and he looked after his young partner, Maku Vunipola, who has also showed some nice touches for a 19-year-old.

"Gloucester have been great this season and have been the most improved side in the competition. They have threats all over the field and have two high class quality half-backs."

Worcester Warriors: Pennell; Howe, Olivier, Te'o, Adams; Weir, Hougaard; Waller, Annett, Schonert, Bresler, Fatialofa, Hill, du Preez, van Velze (capt).

Replacements: Singleton, Black, Milasinovich, Kitchener, Lewis, Arr, Shillcock, Hearle.

Saracens: Gallagher; Strettle, Bosch, Tompkins, Lewington; Vunipola, Whiteley; Figallo, Gray, Judge, Isiekwe, Day, Clark (capt), Burger, Earl.

Replacements: Woolstencroft, Thompson-Stringer, Walker, Kpoku, Christie, Taylor, Griffiths, Segun.

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