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Worcester Warriors will continue their search for a maiden win in this season’s EPCR Challenge Cup as they visit Zebre Parma on Friday night.
The Gallagher Premiership side were beaten by Newcastle Falcons on the opening night of this season’s competition and succumbed to RC Toulon in Round 3 last weekend.
Zebre are also winless, but the Italian outfit were victorious in both fixtures against Worcester in the 2015/16 Challenge Cup – the only previous season the two sides have met in the competition.
The Pool A encounter kicks off at 20:00 (UK & Irish time).
Other key facts
- Zebre have only won three of their 13 games against Premiership clubs in the Challenge Cup (D1 L9) but two of those three wins came against Worcester in 2015/16. Since that 2015/16 campaign, they have lost six of their eight games against opposition from England in the competition (W1 D1).
- Worcester have won 12 of their 14 games against Italian clubs in the Challenge Cup, but they lost the most recent two, against Zebre Parma in the pool stage in 2015/16.
- Worcester’s Duhan van der Merwe has averaged 18.1 metres per carry in the EPCR Challenge Cup this season, the best rate of any player to run with the ball on 10+ occasions. He also ranks top for line breaks (5) and second for defenders beaten (13).
- Worcester hooker Scott Baldwin is the only player to attempt more than 12 lineout throws and maintain a 100% success rate in the EPCR Challenge Cup this season, finding a teammate with each of his 24 throws.
Top try of Round 3? 🤔#ChallengeCupRugby pic.twitter.com/y2WsSNWfQ1
— EPCR Challenge Cup (@ChallengeCup_) January 18, 2022
Worcester head coach Jonathan Thomas: “They are a physical side who will be good at the breakdown and they also have some good athletes so it will be a good test for us. It is going to be a real challenge and I have stressed to the players that Zebre are proud rugby men and we must have respect for them as a team.”
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Worcester Warriors registered their first EPCR Challenge Cup win of the season as they beat Zebre Parma 36-26 at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi on Saturday.
Fly-half Billy Searle enjoyed a prosperous afternoon, scoring a try and kicking 11 points to help his side take a bonus point home from Italy.
Warriors captain Niall Annett went over twice in the first 20 minutes of the Pool A clash before Searle got his try just after the half-hour mark, exchanging passes with lock Justin Clegg and crossing for an excellent score.
The hosts, however, stayed in touch – Searle’s try was sandwiched between two of Zebre’s, courtesy of Erich Cronje and Giovanni D’Onofrio. Tim O’Malley converted both to keep the hosts within five points at half-time.
Ted Hill delivers 💪
Off the bench, the flanker collects @WorcsWarriors' fifth try of this Round 4 encounter ⚔️
Watch the full game on https://t.co/cI5BzX1Nyq 📺#ChallengeCupRugby pic.twitter.com/StdHOKAMfe
— EPCR Challenge Cup (@ChallengeCup_) January 22, 2022
In the second half, though, Warriors dominated, with Tom Howe crossing in the corner and Ted Hill powering through, Searle converting both and adding a penalty from range to wrap it up.
Jacopo Trulla and Enrico Lucchin grabbed two more tries in the last 15 minutes for Zebre, who finished the afternoon with an injury worry over winger Mattia Bellini, who was stretchered off following a heavy tackle.
The Italian outfit were victorious in both fixtures against Worcester in the 2015/16 Challenge Cup – the only previous season the two sides had met in the competition – but since then have now lost seven of nine matches against English opponents.
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