Leeds send Warriors down
Leeds ensured their Guinness Premiership survival with a hard fought 12-10 victory over Worcester at Headingley.
By Simon Dilger
Last Updated: 25/04/10 7:58pm
Leeds secured their Guinness Premiership survival with a hard fought 12-10 victory over Worcester at Headingley on Sunday.
Fly-half Ceiron Thomas kicked all of Leeds' points in a tense dogfight that condemned Worcester to relegation after six seasons of top flight rugby.
After trailing 12-3 at half time, Worcester threatened to spoil the hosts' party when Alex Grove crossed for a converted try in the 70th minute to close the gap to two points and set up a nail-biting finale.
But it was all over for the Warriors when replacement fly-half Matthew Jones saw his stoppage-time drop goal charged down, sparking jubilant scenes among the Leeds faithful.
Worcester had the chance to take the lead in the second minute but winger Chris Pennell saw his long-distance penalty attempt fall short and wide of the posts.
But when Grove was pinged for a deliberate knock on five minutes later Thomas made no mistake, slotting over from 30 metres to open the scoring.
And he extended the hosts' lead to 6-0 just a minute later when Worcester were caught offside after Pennell failed to gather Scott Mathie's box-kick.
The former Scarlets man missed a 43 metre effort on 15 minutes but hit the target to give his side a 9-0 advantage in the 20th minute after Kai Hortsmann entered a ruck illegally.
And four minutes later, when Tuitupou ignored referee Dave Pearson's warning not to chase a kick-ahead from an offside position, Thomas knocked over his fourth to make it 12-0.
Walker put the Warriors first points on the board with a penalty in the 34th minute to close out an error strewn first half for Mike Ruddock's men.
Worcester started the second half strongly and the sustained pressure paid off with a penalty within range but Walker failed to convert.
The fly-half's miserable day did not get any better and after 50 minutes he was replaced following another penalty miss from a kickable position.
Leeds went close to scoring when the forwards stole their fourth Worcester line out but a determined defence came up with the turn over ball.
Worcester number eight Netani Talei took play to the other end with a surging break upfield and a neat crossfield kick from Jones saw Grove cross for the only try of the match.
Jones converted to take the scores to 12-10 and set up a frantic final 10 minutes.
Four minutes from time he saw his huge penalty attempt fall well short of the uprights and then had the home fans hearts in their mouths when he tried to slot a match winning drop-goal in stoppage time.
But it was not to be for the Warriors and Leeds' day was sealed as Neil Back's men charged down his kick to rapturous cheers from the Headingley crowd, who can now look forward to another season of Guinness Premiership rugby.