Andy Goode kicks Worcester to victory over Perpignan

Andy GoodeWorcester have kept their qualification hopes alive in difficult weather conditions with a spirited 22-21 win over Perpignan at Sixways tonight.
Andy Goode scored all his team’s points including a last gasp penalty two minutes from time as the Warriors go three from three in their Amlin Cup campaign before a daunting trip to France next week.
Worcester controlled the first half well to take a commanding 16-8 lead into the break but suffered from the physicality of the French pack in the second half and saw their lead disappear.
They looked set for an agonising defeat but one last effort from the pack gave Goode the opportunity to clinch the game.
Perpignan’s poor discipline starved them from possession but their huge forwards brought them back into the game in the second half with the likes of man mountains Henry Tuilagi and lock duo Romain Taofifenua and Sebastien Vahaamahina making bruising runs into the Warriors’ defensive line.
But most importantly, the French side left Sixways with a losing bonus-point which could prove vital for the qualification.
Two long range penalties from Goode put the Warriors in front early but Perpignan came back within a point with their first meaningful possession in Worcester’s 22.
After some good phases from their big forwards, France lock Vahaamahina found himself on the wing to find Florian Cazenave in support.
The scrum-half tip toed by the right touchline but went over for the opening try of the game.
Goode added a penalty before Perpignan’s trouble at the scrum proved too much for referee Neil Hennessy who sent Tongan prop Sona Taumalolo to the bin for repetitive infringement.
Worcester took full advantage of it to see Goode cross over from close range to bring the lead to 16-5 just after the half hour mark.
Despite playing with 14 men, Perpignan had one last chance to score making their way into Worcester’s 22 thanks to their forwards again and James Hook made sure they ended the half on a high with a well-taken drop-goal to trail 16-8 at the break and stay in the game.
The 2009 Top14 champions came back on the field firing to put huge pressure on the Worcester pack and Hook reduced the deficit to two points with two penalties in quick succession as Neil Best was sent to the bin for Worcester.
It was all about the Perpignan forwards’ power in this second half and they new found domination at the scrum materialised on the hour mark when they were awarded a penalty try to take the lead for the first time of the game.
Hook’s conversion took the score to 21-16 but the French conceded a penalty from the restart and Goode reduced the gap to two points with 15 minutes to go.
It looked like the game was settled but Goode’s late effort sealed it for the Warriors.
For Worcester
Try: Goode
Conversion: Goode
Penalties: Goode 4
Sin bins: Best, Ce. Jones
For Perpignan
Tries: Cazenave, penalty
Conversion: Hook
Penalties: Hook 2
Drop goal: Hook
Sin bin: Taumalolo
Worcester: Pennell; Walker, Grove, Matavesi, Lemi; Goode, Hodgson; Ce. Jones, Shervington, Murray, Percival (capt), Ch. Jones, Best, Kvesic, Taulava.
Replacements: Lutui, O’Donnell, Andress, Schofield, Betty, Arr, Claassens, Short.
Perpignan : Michel; Sid, Marty, Piukala, Plante; Hook, Cazenave; Taumalolo, Guirado, Mas; Taofifenua, Vahaamahina; Strokosch, Narraway, Tuilagi (capt).
Replacements: Terrain, Schuster, Pulu, Guiry, Mele, Mafi, Haughton, Tchale Watchou.
Referee: Neil Hennessy
Star man: Andy Goode – Worcester
You can relive the action from Sixways here.

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