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Match Report

26 Mar 2006: Wasps v Leeds Tykes

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Match Report
Tykes's Badge Wasps 28
Wasps's Badge Wasps 0
Fixture Type: Guinness Premiership Venue: Adams Park
Match Date: Sun 26 Mar 2006, Kick Off: 15:00
Referee: Ashley Rowden Touch Judge: Lloyd Jackson
TV Match Official: Brian Abrahams Touch Judge: Andrew Watson

Back in Black

Wasps were back at the office, normal service resumed this afternoon in their first game as a complete squad since the conclusion of the Six Nations season last weekend.

A confident and assured performance saw the English Champions put 4 tries past basement side Leeds to secure a bonus point and keep in the chase for top spot in the Guinness Premiership at the end of the season.

Wasps also showed the flexibility of this squad, as Lewsey performed well in the centre alongside Stuart Abbott, Erinle had a good game on the wing, coming on as a replacement for Paul Sackey after 20 minutes, and Raphael Ibanez had a brief run out on the blind side, stepping in for Joe Worsley five minutes from the end.

The game was an encouraging sign that Wasps are once again set for the end of season push however. The defence was solid and well organised, and the front five dominated in the scrimmage. Wasps attack showed real bite too, both with first phase ball and on the counter attack. It was a good afternoon for the back three, who scored all the points, though in the midfield it was Josh Lewsey who attracted the praise of coach Shaun Edwards, who summarised the Wasps and England man's performance as outstanding after the game.

On the downside however, flanker Tom Rees had to be helped from the field after just a quarter of an hour, and though precautionary x-rays ruled out any break, it will be another blow to the young back rower who has endured a miserable run of injury in the last 12 months.

And the game was not without controversy, as Leeds open-side flanker Richard Parks was shown a red card after appearing to have verbally abused the referee after being shown an initial yellow card for fighting in the dying minutes of the game.

A handling error from Leeds, fielding a Wasps clearance of the kick off, put the home side in the attacking half from the outset, and good driving work from the forwards kept the Tykes on the back foot. Following the drive, a simple miss move to Van Gisbergen, coming into the line, was enough to create the overlap for Voyce to score in the corner after just 5 minutes. Van Gisbergen added the extras with a good conversion kick.

Leeds enjoyed the majority of possession in the next ten minutes but looked hesitant in attack. Though they won two penalties, both fly half Gordon Ross's attempts, from near half way, fell short.

I think it was the control we had for virtually the whole game that was pleasing.

Rees departure on the quarter hour subdued the crowd, but the mood was lifted quickly as from the scrum restart, Stuart Abbot made a clean break. He found Voyce, supporting at pace, but the winger's final pass to Eoin Reddan went to ground after Justin Marshall got a hand to it. Wasps were hungry in their attack though, and once again it was Abbott getting behind the defence from the following scrum and this time he was able to deliver the final pass to Paul Sackey, who scored in the corner.

Van Gisbergen's touchline conversion attempt was again good, though Sackey was the second casualty of the day. He was replaced by Erinle after scoring his try, having tweaked a hamstring

The following twenty minutes were largely uneventful. Leeds looked to have the majority of the possession, but play remained in the centre third of the pitch. The temperature only rose as the first half neared its end, when Simon Shaw received a yellow card for hauling down Tom Biggs. Following a half break down the left, the winger chipped into space and was following up quickly when he was tackled without the ball by the Wasps' lock. Ross chose to kick the resultant penalty to touch for a 5m line-out, but Wasps held the drive and their blitz defence saw Leeds make mistakes under the pressure that allowed the referee to blow the whistle without further score.

Despite being a man down, and what was now persistent rain, Wasps had the better of the early exchanges in the second half although Staunton's penalty from 40 metres was off target in the 42nd minute.

Wasps finally got the scoreboard moving again after 53 minutes with a well timed interception try. Initiated by Abbot, who was up quickly and nearly stole the ball himself, his presence nevertheless put off Roland de Marigny, whose aimless pass was ideal fodder for Voyce who snapped up the ball and slid in under the posts to make Van Gisbergen third conversion of the day a formality.

Leeds looked to have hit back five minutes later, a pass off the shoulder putting De Marigny through and heading for the posts, but a fantastic defensive tackle from Erinle halted and turned the Leeds man, denying his side their opening score. Another great tackle in the corner from Worsley shortly after saw Leeds denied once again as the hour passed

Wasps' defence continued to perform well to null the Leeds attack, and as the game entered the last 10 minutes the home side were able to work back into Leeds 22. When scrum-half Justin Marshall knocked on a tap penalty Wasps were nicely set up with a scrum midfield. From this attacking position, first Lewsey made a wriggling break, and then ball came back quickly the other way for Van Gisbergen to squeeze over in the corner, securing his side the bonus point. The full back then completed an impeccable place kicking display with a third touchline conversion, his fourth on the day.

Parks red card ended the day on a bad tempered note, but coaches and captain were pleased with the Wasps side's performance on the day.

'I think it was the control we had for virtually the whole game that was pleasing. The defence was outstanding. A lot of the set piece was good today too, and that gives you the ability to play.' said Director of Rugby, Ian McGeechan.

Captain Lawrence Dallaglio said, 'There a real courageous side, they keep trying and they're physical. Mentally we were very well prepared for this game.

'We knew they were fighting for their lives, and it was a difficult game for us as we've all been away in different international teams and a number of the guys have been away training in Poland so we haven't really had much chance to train together.

'We can make excuses for not having some of the finishing that we should have had, but we'll be pleased with that. We've done the job, got the bonus point and that gives us a bit of momentum now going into the business end of the season.'

Wasps Scorers
Tries: Voyce (5min, 54min), Sackey (17 min), Van Gisbergen (76min)
Con: Van Gisbergen (4)

HT: 14-0

Referee: Ashley Rowden

Attendance: 8186

Yellow Cards: Shaw (39min), Parks (78min)

Red Cards: Parks (78 min)