Premiership: Worcester bounce back from heavy Gloucester defeat to beat London Irish 20-6
|Worcester (13) 20|
|Tries: Weir, Lance Cons: Weir, Lance Pens: Weir 2|
|London Irish (3) 6|
|Pens: Myler 2|
Worcester Warriors bounced back from their pre-Christmas thumping at Gloucester as they beat 14-man London Irish at Sixways.
Irish led early on following a Stephen Myler penalty but home stand-off Duncan Weir turned it round, improving his own try, as well as kicking two penalties.
But the game turned in the space of just three minutes as Allan Dell was sin-binned and Motu Matu'u red carded.
And Jono Lance secured victory with his own converted second-half try.
Having enjoyed seven minutes of playing against 13 men before the break, Worcester became stymied when Dell's return brought the Exiles back to just a one-man disadvantage.
Despite playing in front of an 11,000 capacity crowd for the first time this season, the contest disintegrated into a dreary scrum-strewn second period, in which Lance's converted try and Myler's second penalty were the only second-half scores.
For the final 10 minutes, it was back to even numbers again at 14-a-side when Chris Pennell was also yellow carded following a try-saving tackle on Tom Stephenson that was ruled too high.
But, for Irish, it had been an uphill battle once hooker Matu'u had been handed his 34th-minute red card by referee Ian Tempest, who had only just dispatched his front row partner Dell to cool off for 10 minutes for charging dangerously into a ruck.
It left the Exiles to play the whole of the second half a man short for the second away league fixture in a row. But, while they were able to make light of prop Ollie Hoskins' dismissal at Bristol earlier this month, going on to secure a 27-27 draw, there was to be no repeat.
The visitors held out until the 59th minute when scrum-half Francois Hougaard broke down the blind-side before combining cleverly with winger Perry Humphreys to provide Lance with an easy run-in.
Worcester director of rugby Alan Solomons:
"It was very important that we won and it was also important that we denied them a bonus point. However, our error count was far too high.
"We couldn't build any pressure and it can't have been a pretty game to watch. But, on balance, we deserved to win a very physical game of rugby.
"Sometimes things don't work out and it's hard to explain why. But to be a top-six side, we need to be better than that. Against Sale and Exeter we showed we could be. But it's a very strong competition."
London Irish director of rugby Declan Kidney:
"I saw the incident [Matu'u red card] on the big screen and will need to look at it again and due process will take place afterwards.
"We put in a massive effort on either side of half-time. I won't have a bad word said against the players because there was fantastic commitment from them.
"We could have had a penalty try at the end when their full-back was yellow-carded, but then again they had a try disallowed by the TMO in the early stages."
Worcester Warriors: Pennell; Humphreys, Beck, Mills, Howe; Weir, Hougaard; Black, Moulds, Schonert, Bresler, Kitchener, Hill, Lewis, Du Preez.
Replacements: Miller, Bower, Palframann, Fatialofa, Van Velze, Heaney, Lance, Shillcock.
Sin bin: Pennell (69).
London Irish: Veitokani; Tuatagoloa, Rona, Stephenson, Hassell-Collins; Myler, Phipps; Dell, Matu'u, Chawatama, Van der Merwe, Coleman, Rogerson, Cowan, Tuisue.
Replacements: Fainga'a, Elrington, Hoskins, Nott, Mafi, Meehan, Campbell, Stokes.
Sin bin: Dell (31).
Sent off: Matu'u (34).