Francois Hougaard scored on debut to help the Worcester Warriors beat the Sale Sharks 31-23 on Saturday.
Hougaard joined the Warriors on a short-term contract until the end of the season, and his first superb performance at Sixways Stadium helped the team break their 13-match winless run in all competitions.
Worcester, who last tasted victory in round four of the Premiership in November, raced out to a 21-8 lead following tries by flank Carl Kirwan and Hougaard, coupled with a conversion and two penalties by pivot Tom Heathcote.
Hougaard's try came after he broke away with the ball from a strong driving maul before shrugging off Sale flyhalf Danny Cipriani to dot down.
The hosts, with Hougaard pulling the strings from scrumhalf, pushed further ahead shortly after the interval with another 10-point haul before Sale sparked to life as they tried to manufacture a comeback.
Sale scored three second-half tries, but their cause wasn't helped by Cipriani's wayward goal-kicking and in the end Worcester did enough to end their drought and come away with the win.
Worcester – Tries: Carl Kirwan, Francois Hougaard, Chris Pennell. Conversions: Tom Heathcote (2). Penalties: Heathcote (5).
Sale – Tries: David Seymour, Tommy Taylor, Mike Haley (2). Penalty: Danny Cipriani.
Worcester – 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Wynand Olivier, 12 Ryan Mills, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 Tom Heathcote, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 GJ van Velze (c), 7 Carl Kirwan, 6 Dewald Potgieter, 5 Darren Barry, 4 Donncha O’Callaghan, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Val Rapava Ruskin.
Subs: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Na’ama Leleimalefaga, 18 James Johnston, 19 Dan Sanderson, 20 Phil Dowson, 21 Luke Baldwin, 22 Ryan Lamb, 23 Andy Symons.
Sale – 15 Mike Haley, 14 Tom Arscott, 13 Sam James, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Nev Edwards, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Josh Beaumont (c), 7 David Seymour, 6 Cameron Neild, 5 Jonathan Mills, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Ross Harrison.
Subs: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Eifion Lewis Roberts, 18 Brian Mujati, 19 Magnus Lund, 20 Mark Easter, 21 Chris Cusiter, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Mark Jennings.
Photo: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images