Premiership: Exeter Chiefs score late to snatch 24-20 win over Worcester at Sixways
|Worcester (17) 20|
|Tries: Humphreys 2 Cons: Weir 2 Pens: Weir 2|
|Exeter (10) 24|
|Tries: Maunder, Kvesic, Williams Cons: Simmonds 3 Pens: Simmonds|
Exeter prop Harry Williams' late try kept up the Chiefs' perfect Premiership record on trips to Worcester.
Warriors led 17-3 at Sixways after two first-half tries from winger Perry Humphreys, both improved by fly-half Duncan Weir, who also kicked a penalty.
Chiefs scrum-half Jack Maunder galloped over to chalk one of them off before the break, then Worcester old boy Matt Kvesic crashed in to level at 17-17.
But after Weir's late penalty, the marauding Williams had the final word.
Worcester boss Alan Solomons was left seething by two late blunders which cost his side victory.
Warriors were set to be awarded a scrum on halfway, only for replacement forward Michael Fatialofa to charge in and concede a reckless penalty. Exeter knocked the ball into the corner and, from the driving line-out, Kvesic bullocked his way over.
Then long-serving full-back Chris Pennell, already heavily strapped up and carrying a worrying thigh muscle injury, made a hash of a clearance. And, from the sustained 32-phase Exeter attack that followed, Williams eventually made the five-yard burst over the line which won the game.
Stand-off Joe Simmonds, who had already slotted his first two conversions as well as a first-half penalty, added the extras to seal the weakened Chiefs' second win in three tight league games this season.
Exeter had Scotland's Stuart Hogg making only his second start at full-back, but they remained without their four World Cup players, Wales' Tomas Francis and England trio Luke Cowan-Dickie, Jack Nowell and Henry Slade. That allowed former Gloucester and England flanker Kvesic to come in and cap a man of the match performance by scoring against his old club on his first start of the season.
Worcester, without injured scrum-half Francois Hougaard, gave a first Premiership start in 11 months to Michael Heaney. But they had cause to feel that this was a game thrown away as Warriors, first-day winners over Leicester but well-beaten at early leaders Northampton last weekend, had to settle for only a losing bonus point.
Warriors director of rugby Alan Solomons told BBC Hereford & Worcester:
"I'm dreadfully disappointed as it is heart-breaking not to get a win out of that. It's a tragedy as the players played so well. We were able to match them physically.
"It's fine margins but you can't afford to give away silly penalties and make unforced errors.
"A player loses his head for a moment and we rightly concede a penalty for a no-arms tackle then we shank a kick when under no pressure."
Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter told BBC Radio Devon:
"In training we've put a lot of hard work in and our performance was much better than last week at Bath. Our discipline was greatly improved as we weren't giving away silly penalties for head high tackles.
"The foundation of our game held up and it was a real battle against a side who defended physically and very well.
"We kept working and carrying and had the courage to keep doing that. Some of our ball-carrying stats will be through the roof."
Worcester: Pennell; Humphreys, Beck, Mills (capt), Nanai; Weir, Heaney; Black, Annett, Carey, Bresler, Kitchener, Hill, Lewis, Du Preez.
Replacements: Taufete'e, Waller, Palframan, Fatialofa, Van Velze, Mama, Simpson, Venter.
Exeter: Hogg; O'Flaherty, Whitten, S Hill, Cuthbert; J Simmonds, Maunder; Hepburn, Yeandle (capt), Williams, Dennis, J Hill, Ewers, Vermeulen, Kvesic.
Replacements: Taione, Keast, Street, Kirsten, Lonsdale, White, Steenson, Hendrickson.