Chiefs 5 Warriors 6
A bit like London buses, nothing for ages, then all of a sudden you get a flurry.
Well, it’s the same for Worcester Warriors, who having seen off Exeter Chiefs in the Anglo-Welsh Cup last month, then repeated the dose by becoming the first side to win an Aviva Premiership game at Sandy Park since Bath prospered back in October 2016.
Not since the Chiefs were elevated into English rugby’s top tier back in 2010 have Worcester tasted a league victory against Rob Baxter’s side - whilst you have to go all the way back to 2004, the days of the old County Ground, to note their last success on Devon soil.
This triumph, however, was a deserved victory for the Warriors, who not only gave every ounce of energy they possessed, but did enough in defence to throw a spanner into the works of the normally reliable Chiefs machine.
Chris Pennell struck two successful first half penalties to seal their fourth victory of the campaign, whilst all the Chiefs could muster in terms of a response was a solitary score from lock Mitch Lees after the break.
Back in Premiership action for the first time in a month, Baxter paraded a powerful looking line-up for the visit of the Midlanders. Having rested many of his frontline stars over the past fortnight, they all returned to the fray as the champions looked to preserve their position at the top of the table.
Argentinian newcomer Santiago Cordero was handed his Premiership debut on the right wing for the hosts, while on the bench there was a first-ever inclusion in top flight action for academy prop Marcus Street.
The visitors, meanwhile, were shy of leading try-scorer Josh Adams and centre Ben Te’o, but they still had plenty of experiences within their ranks, led by skipper Donncha O’Callaghan, Springbok Francois Hougaard and full-back Chris Pennell.
With conditions sticky underfoot and rather gloomy overhead, it was the Chiefs who were up against the strong breeze in the opening half. The initial skirmishes offered little in terms of excitement, not damage to the scoreboard, as the battle for territory and possession meant it was more of an arm wrestle, rather than a compelling rugby match.
For the full match report, go to https://www.exeterchiefs.co.uk/news/chiefs-5-warriors-6