RUGBY: Injury-hit Lions slip to seventh ahead of trip to Stoke

Sam Herrington
Sam Herrington
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Pictures from Saturday’s game with Worcester at Webb Ellis Road

PICTURES BY RAY ANDREWS

Callum Hopkins, with Joe Higgins and James Wilsher-Aiken

Callum Hopkins, with Joe Higgins and James Wilsher-Aiken

Midlands 1 West

Rugby Lions 17 Worcester 34

The latest visitors to Webb Ellis Road were Worcester, who were six points behind Rugby in tenth position in the league table, writes Dave Rushall.

Lions started well and put Worcester under pressure from the off. A loose clearance kick by the visitors was taken by Adam Attenborough on half way and he set off on a diagonal run to link up with his fellow backs.

Lions Daniel Parrington in their 34-17 defeat by Worcester

Lions Daniel Parrington in their 34-17 defeat by Worcester

The ball was expertly shipped along the line to enable Scott Truslove to touch down in the right hand corner. The difficult conversion attempt failed to hit the target.

Shortly after, Sam Herrington, playing at number eight, picked up from a scrum before setting off on a charge and feeding Attenborough for another try for the home side. This time Weston’s conversion sailed over the bar to give Lions a healthy looking 12-point lead.

Lions were looking sharp and were testing the visitors’ defence to the extreme. At this point, things started to go awry for Rugby and a series of errors enabled the strong running Worcester backs to gain confidence and reverse the tide to put the pressure on the home side.

Some very weak tackling enabled Worcester to run in three tries in quick succession in the second quarter, all of which were converted to give them a half time lead of 12-21.

Sam James

Sam James

The second half saw the trend continue with no lack of effort from the Lions, but their execution was poor, and the confidence seemed to drain away as the game progressed.

An early penalty for Worcester extended their lead, and numerous penalties were awarded against Rugby. One of these led to a throw-in five metres out, and from the resulting maul the Worcester number eight was allowed to stroll over the try-line with no Lions player in sight. The conversion gave the visitors a commanding 19-point lead.

Things were beginning to get a bit spicy with several bouts of handbags off the ball and numerous lectures from the referee. Worcester have a set of very experienced street-wise players and it was the Lions who seemed to be on the receiving end of the bulk of the advice.

With Rugby awarded a rare penalty just inside the visitors half, the ball was put in touch for the throw. The trade mark catch and drive was expected, but Alex Tansley picked up and headed for the posts. His run was held up just short and the ruck was formed. With the ball presented and ready for the next phase, the Worcester number 13 came round and kicked the ball out and rightly received a yellow card – remarkably the first and only in the match.

Try scorer Scott Truslove, with Stuart Lee for Lions at Webb Ellis Road   PICTURES BY RAY ANDREWS

Try scorer Scott Truslove, with Stuart Lee for Lions at Webb Ellis Road PICTURES BY RAY ANDREWS

Another line-out and drive was held inches short, but off the ball the Worcester hooker grabbed John Hemsley as he tried to support, and that resulted in another punch-up, although no more cards.

Lions had the final say when Sam Herrington picked up from the five-metre scrum to crash over. Another disappointing result, with yet more injuries sustained.

This Saturday (20th) sees Lions travel to a rejuvenated fourth-placed Stoke for a 2.15pm kick off.

Dave Weston with Daniel Parrington

Dave Weston with Daniel Parrington

Sam Herrington

Sam Herrington

Daniel Parrington, with Dav Nurse

Daniel Parrington, with Dav Nurse

Adam Attenborough

Adam Attenborough

Alex Tansley and Callum Wheatley

Alex Tansley and Callum Wheatley