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Page last updated at 15:45 GMT, Sunday, 25 April 2010 16:45 UK

Leeds 12-10 Worcester

Leeds (12) 12
Pens: Thomas 4
Worcester (3) 10
Tries: Grove Cons: Jones Pens: Walker

Leeds second row Erik Lund celebrates after Carnegie sent Worcester down to the Championship
Leeds' Erik Lund celebrates as Worcester's players contemplate relegation

Leeds ended Worcester's six-year stay in the Premiership despite a brave second-half fightback by the visitors.

Leeds led 12-0 after 25 minutes at a rainy Headingley, courtesy of four Ceiron Thomas penalties.

Willie Walker got the visitors on the board to make it 12-3 at half-time but he then missed two kickable penalties.

With 10 minutes left Alex Grove scored and Matthew Jones converted to make it 12-10, but Jones missed a penalty and drop-goal inside the last five minutes.

The win meant Leeds retained their Premiership status after being promoted at the start of the season, while Worcester have to face up to life out of the top flight.

Their losing bonus point lifted them to 27 points, five behind second-from-bottom Sale, but the Manchester side's total of six wins meant they cannot be overhauled by the Warriors, who have managed to win only three games this season after finishing 11th, 10th and 11th in previous campaigns.


At the start of the season Leeds were most people's favourites to head straight back down to the Championship but after a slow start they found their feet and five wins from their last eight games means they head into the final weekend in the security of ninth place.

Wing Chris Pennell had the chance to give Worcester an early lead, in front of a crowd of over 10,000, Leeds' biggest of the season, but his long-distance effort in the second minute fell short and wide of the uprights.

Leeds' power in the set piece and Worcester's ill-discipline then combined to give Thomas five shots at goal and he landed four of them to give the hosts a 12-0 lead.

It was an error-strewn opening half-hour from Worcester, with Mike Ruddock's side losing three line-outs on their own throw and making countless handling errors in the heavy rainfall, but Walker finally got them on the board with a 34th-minute penalty.

The Warriors made a strong start to the second half with two lengthy passages of attacking play leading to a penalty opportunity but Walker, the Premiership's leading scorer, failed to convert.

The fly-half's woes continued as he spurned a two-man overlap and when he then missed another kickable penalty in the 50th minute, he was rapidly withdrawn in favour of Jones.

Another Leeds line-out steal saw them batter away at the Worcester line but the visitors bravely hung on and managed to turn the ball over.

A surging break from Worcester number eight Netani Talei took play to the other end of the field and a cross-kick from Jones deceived Thomas to allow Grove to touch down in the 70th minute, with the conversion ratcheting up the tension.

Worcester earned a penalty with four minutes of normal time remaining but Jones slipped as he tried his luck from four metres inside his own half and the ball fell well short.

The replacement fly-half was then handed a chance in stoppage time to keep Worcester alive for another day, but his drop-goal attempt was charged down in a thrilling finale.

Leeds head coach Neil Back:
"It's not the way we wanted to win, in terms of execution we were poor, but you can accept that as today was about winning.

"If we were to review that game it would be painful. We are better then that but we would take it."

"We can now look at who needs surgery, who needs a rest, and we can push some buttons on some great players who can come in and help us achieve our objective of being a top-half-of-the-table club."

Worcester boss Mike Ruddock:
"Take nothing away from Leeds, it was an excellent win for them and they have picked up some big victories here.

"They battled for that victory but we scored the only try and we had the chances to win that game, and we missed a few kicks at goal.

"I could have done with my skipper (Pat Sanderson, who failed a late fitness test) really to see us through those final 10 minutes.

"That's been the story of the season. We have conceded fewer tries than Leeds and scored more tries than Leeds but they have closed out their wins."

Leeds Carnegie: Goodridge; Fa'afili, Burrell, Rabeni, Blackett; Thomas, Mathie, MacDonald, Titterrell, Gomez, Lund, Wentzel, Myall, Oakley, To'oala.

Replacements: Nilsen for Titterrell (71), Swainston for Gomez (58), Denton for To'oala (58).

Not Used: Hardy, Gomarsall, Ford, Hepworth, Rowan.

Worcester: Latham; Pennell, Grove, Tuitupou, Garvey; Walker, Arr; A Black, Lutui, Taumoepeau, Rawlinson, Kitchener, Horstmann, Cracknell, Talei.

Replacements: Sourgens for Tuitupou (75), Jones for Walker (56), Silver for Arr (44), C Black for A Black (50), Fortey for Lutui (64), Gillies for Kitchener (56), Collins for Cracknell (78).

Not Used: Rasmussen.

Att: 10,146

Ref: Dave Pearson (RFU).

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see also
10 players to exit Leeds Carnegie
25 Apr 10 |  English
Ruddock resigns as Worcester boss
28 Apr 10 |  Worcester
Better than winning World Cup
23 Apr 10 |  Leeds
Guscott's predictions
23 Apr 10 |  English
Hooker Rawlinson to leave Leeds
23 Apr 10 |  Leeds
Wentzel pledges future to Leeds
21 Apr 10 |  Leeds
Goodridge fighting for new deal
20 Apr 10 |  Leeds
London Irish 13-23 Leeds
18 Apr 10 |  English
Worcester 20-24 Wasps
17 Apr 10 |  English

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