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Page last updated at 08:35 GMT, Monday, 31 January 2011

Cornish Pirates 30-33 Worcester Warriors

Cornish Pirates (25) 30
Tries: Burgess, Pointer, Davies, Cook
Cons: Cook 2 Pens: Cook 2
Worcester (7) 33
Tries: Crockett, Goode, Sanderson 2, Lutui
Carlisle, Goode 3

Richard Hill
Richard Hill's Warriors wrapped up the title with a game to spare

Worcester staged a dramatic second-half comeback to beat Cornish Pirates 33-30 and secure the Championship title.

Warriors were 25-7 down at the break at Mennaye Field to the only side to have stopped them in the league this season.

But they roared back with four second-half tries, ex-skipper Pat Sanderson completing their comeback in injury time with his second of the game.

Alex Crockett ran in Worcester's first try before Andy Goode, who landed three kicks, and Aleki Lutui got the others.

Having wrapped up the title with a game to spare, coach Richard Hill can now turn his attention to the play-offs.

But this was an especially sweet victory for Hill's side following the Pirates' equally tight 23-21 win at Sixways back in October.

That was Worcester's only league defeat in the league and they were particularly keen to set the record straight.

The Warriors started well when Scottish international centre Grove intercepted pass to run in the opening try of the game.

But two penalties from Pirates full-back Rob Cook reduced the deficit to a single point and then the home side seized the initiative to run in three tries in 10 minutes.

Phil Burgess, Grant Porter and Wes Davies all crossed the Warriors line, Cook coverting two of them as the Pirates opened out a seemingly unassailable 25-7 half-time lead.

But Warriors regrouped to stage a superb second-half comeback that began only three minutes after the restart when Goode benefited from some fine forward play to cross the Pirates line.

Goode converted his own try and this gave the Warriors renewed hope as they continued to press the home side's line - pressure that was rewarded 13 minutes later when Sanderson scored the first of his two tries.

The Pirates were reduced to 14 men when scrum-half James Doherty was sin-binned for an off-the-ball altercation with Goode and the Warriors made their numerical advantage count.

Hooker Lutui replaced Chris Fortey and, in typical style, the Tongan barged over, Goode adding the extra points to earn Worcester a 26-24 lead.

The Pirates were not finished and Cook appeared to have broken Warriors hearts when he rounded off a flowing move by touching down in the left-hand corner.

But, with the game in added time, the Warriors knew they had to keep the ball alive. And they did so for long enough for Sanderson to crash over for what proved to be the winning try, Goode adding the extra.

Worcester head coach Richard Hill told BBC Hereford and Worcester:

"If we are going to face the challenge of going up into the Premiership then we are going to have to knock off each challenge as it comes.

"We were 20-7 down at Bristol and came back to win, but this was probably the biggest one we have had this season, to come back from 25-7.

"Neil Best and Kai Horstmann's words were: 'This is non-negotiable, we have got to come back'. That is a superb attitude to have."

Cornish Pirates: Cook, Pointer, Hopper, Winn, Davies, Bentley, Doherty, Cowan, Burgess, Morgan, Gulliver, Myerscough, Brits, Ward, Paver.

Replacements: Storer, Elloway, Rimmer, McGlone, Marriott, Luke, McAtee.

Worcester: Carlisle; Garvey, Crockett, Higgitt, Benjamin, Goode, Arr; A Black, Fortey, Taumoepeau, Rawlinson, Gillies, Best, Sanderson, Horstmann.

Replacements; Lutui, Douglas, Bowley, Kvesic, Frost, Rasmussen, Arscott.

Attendance: 3,154.

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see also
Stirling hails Pirates confidence
28 Jan 11 |  Rugby Union
Worcester hope to keep Kitchener
27 Jan 11 |  Rugby Union
Worcester's King escapes injury
25 Jan 11 |  Rugby Union
Worcester 21-23 Cornish Pirates
22 Oct 10 |  Rugby Union

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