Worcester Warriors might be struggling at the foot of the English Premiership table, but they are still capable of good passages of play, and this try from South Africa centre Francois Venter against high-flying Bristol Bears showed what happens when they do get on the front foot and all work together.
Firstly, we see how Bristol have formed a defensive line across the pitch, closing off the space. This is the correct setup to have, because, theoretically, Worcester should not now be able to access the space behind with any ease. However, Worcester move the ball out to the wing, with the pass from Venter to winger Nick David here being one of many quick passes in this stage of the attack.
Out of picture, Warriors fly-half Jamie Shillcock and centre Ashley Beck have also lined up to stretch the play out even more, offering themselves as passing options. This is crucial, because it adds the width that was needed for Worcester to get past Bristol’s strong defence here.
Having extra players on the outside allows Worcester to create a 2-v-1 situation, making it easier for them to get the ball around the Bristol player nearest the wing. However, what also helps is that utility forward Joe Batley, in the yellow circle, makes a run through the middle of the Bristol defence, adding a momentary distraction for his former team to think about. This also gives Worcester the extra second they need to run through successfully on the wing.
Now, we can see how Worcester looked to move the ball back inside once they had got around Bristol’s defence. Beck did really well to keep the ball alive here, and, a couple of passes later, experienced scrum-half Francois Hougaard, who will join Wasps this summer, has the ball. Hougaard, in the blue circle, now combines with Venter in a simple 2-v-1 attacking move. Bristol scrum-half Andy Uren comes across to block Hougaard, which is the danger with this; whichever player he looks to block, the other will run through to score. This time, he moves across towards Hougaard, who therefore frees up Venter to get the try.
This was a really good try, but it only came about because every player involved knew where to be and what their role was in building it up. There was a good awareness of where the space was, as well as excellent passing at the right moment to ensure that each Bristol defender was committed before the ball was released to the next player. Therefore, whilst it looked like a fairly simple try, there were several elements which had to be done correctly in order to make it work.