SIVA Naulago's hat-trick proved decisive as Worcester Warriors were denied a shock victory late on against Gallagher Premiership leaders Bristol Bears by 23-24.

Bristol's Callum Sheedy converted Fijian winger Naulago's third try with eight minutes to go as Bristol weathered a dominant second-half Worcester display to come through with a vital win that keeps them six points clear at the top of the table.

Despite their efforts, Warriors remain winless since November and are now on a nine-match losing run in the league and after Gloucester's win over Wasps earlier in the day, Worcester hit the bottom of the table.

The Bears had started brightly and Naulago had his first of the day inside five minutes, breezing over the line thanks after a well worked backs move.

Sheedy and the skilful winger linked up again for Bristol's second try as the Welsh fly-half produced a perfect cross-kick to Naulago, who caught with ease to touch down just before the half-hour mark.

It was starting to look like a long day at the office for the Warriors but after the restart, former Bristolian Joe Batley, who had come in for the injured Ted Hill before kick-off, turned the ball over deep into the visitors' 22.

Billy Searle had just been introduced to proceedings after Chris Ashton was pulled off for an HIA to spot Perry Humphreys in space on the wing, before executing a pin-point cross-kick of his own for Humphreys to gather and touch down.

The conversion from Jamie Shillcock and a penalty from the impressive Searle had tied things up at 10-10 as the clock hit red for half-time.

But there was time for one more Bristol attack and after a string of penalties were kicked into the corner, scrum-half Andy Uren eventually spotted a gap and sniped his way over for a crucial score.

It could have been a killer blow right on the whistle but Warriors came out strongly to start the second period and within four minutes Searle has nailed another penalty to reduce the deficit to just four points.

It was to get even better for the hosts soon after that as Francois Venter finished off a superb team move to score in the corner.

Ashley beck, on as a replacement for Oli Morris who failed an HIA, somehow kept the ball in play out on the wing before Nick David and Francois Hougaard exchanged passes, which then enabled Venter to stroll in for a highlight reel effort.

Searle continued his perfect day from the tee to extend the lead with the conversion before he kicked another penalty on 53 minutes to push the advantage to six points.

The home side had chances to win it, not least when Shillcock danced along the touchline and looked to be diving for the line, only for a last-ditch tackle from the standout Naulago pushed him into touch.

As the game entered the final ten minutes it was frantic stuff but the Fijian winger had the final say as he finished off a first-phase move to slide through the midfield and cross the line.

Sheedy hadn't had his kicking boots on for the majority of the game but he was not to miss the one that mattered and eventually the away side held on for a crucial bonus-point win.

Warriors earned a losing bonus point but they could have had so much more. Full-time: Worcester Warriors 23 Bristol Bears 24