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Worcester hang on for a Premiership point against local rivals Gloucester

Published 09/09/2016

Worcester held on for a gripping 23-23 draw against Gloucester after former Bath flanker Alafoti Faosiliva was sent off.
Worcester held on for a gripping 23-23 draw against Gloucester after former Bath flanker Alafoti Faosiliva was sent off.

Worcester held on for a gripping 23-23 Aviva Premiership draw against Gloucester after their former Bath flanker Alafoti Faosiliva was sent off at Sixways.

The Warriors appeared well on course to christen their new artificial pitch in style when they opened up a 20-9 lead, but Gloucester hit back following Faosiliva's red card.

Faosiliva appeared to lead with his forearm in a 52nd-minute challenge on Gloucester lock Mariano Galarza, who required a lengthy spell of treatment on the pitch before going off.

Gloucester then scored tries through centre Matt Scott and wing Henry Purdy, but they remain without a league win at Worcester since 2010 after touchdowns from England squad centre Ben Te'o, wing Cooper Vuna and substitute Perry Humphreys for the Warriors.

Ex-Gloucester fly-haf Ryan Lamb added a penalty and conversion, and Tom Heathcote also kicked a penalty, while Greig Laidlaw kicked three penalties for the visitors and two conversions - but worryingly for Gloucester, they have already conceded eight tries this season.

Worcester showed three changes from the side beaten by champions Saracens at Twickenham last weekend, with head coach Carl Hogg calling up Faosiliva, prop James Johnston, lock Donncha O'Callaghan, while Gloucester boss David Humphreys retained the team that blew a 31-7 second-half lead in losing to Leicester seven days ago.

Laidlaw kicked Gloucester into a third-minute lead, and a dominant opening quarter looked to have yielded a try when wing Charlie Sharples dived over in the corner following poor Worcester defensive work, but it was ruled out after Sharples failed to play the ball again following a completed Wynand Olivier tackle.

The Sixways crowd, though, were denied video replays after the big screen went blank, leaving referee Luke Pearce to communicate with television match official Stuart Terheege without the aid of pictures.

And Worcester made the most of Gloucester's missed opportunity, breaking out of their own half for the first time and setting up an impressive attacking platform that saw Te'o finish impressively following scrum-half Jonny Arr's strong run.

A second Laidlaw penalty put Gloucester back in front, but Worcester were determined and they created a superb second try through some impressive handling that ended with Vuna crossing wide out.

Lamb kicked the touchline conversion and then landed an angled penalty, by which time Gloucester had seen their Wales international flanker Ross Moriarty for further assessment after he appeared to have been briefly knocked out.

Gloucester looked to cut their nine-point deficit as the interval approached, but Worcester easily kept them out and trooped off with a 15-6 advantage.

Te'o did not appear at the start of the second-half, and his replacement Humphreys was immediately heavily involved after Laidlaw completed his penalty hat-trick by running aggressively into Gloucester territory and setting up a five-metre scrum, only for Worcester's forwards to infringe.

But the Warriors then saw Faosiliva dismissed for his challenge on Galarza, meaning they were reduced to 14 men less than just midway through the third quarter, yet it appeared to make little difference as Humphreys sprinted over for Worcester's third try.

Gloucester hit back when Scott went over between the posts, with Laidlaw adding the extras, before Purdy touched down wide out and another Laidlaw conversion tied things up, but neither side could apply a decisive winning touch.

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