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Match Report

21 Jan 2006: Wasps v Edinburgh Gunners

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Match Report
Edinburgh's Badge Wasps 53
Wasps's Badge Wasps 17
Fixture Type: Heineken Cup Venue: Adams Park
Match Date: Sat 21 Jan 2006, Kick Off: 13:00
Touch Judge 2: Bernard Dal Maso Referee: Romain Poite
Touch Judge 1: Cedric Marchat

Slick Wasps outclass Edinburgh

Seven thousand London Wasps supporters enjoyed 80 minutes of hugely entertaining rugby at the Causeway Stadium this afternoon, Wasps victorious by 53 points to 17.

Man of the Match McKenzie bursts through on his way to scoring

With ten tries to enjoy, seven of them for Wasps, fluid running rugby was the order of the day as both sides showed adventure in attack. Wasps' excellent support play in attack was too much for the Edinburgh defence however, with both forwards and backs interpassing and offloading well to overstretch the opposition.

James Haskell and Fraser Waters both had good games on their returning from long injury layoffs. Haskell stated the game at 6, whilst Waters came on for the final 25, both looking sharp and setting up tries for the teammates.

In warm dry conditions the game started at a lively pace, both sides full of counter attacking adventure. Wasps were on the score sheet early with a Van Gisbergen penalty after just 3 minutes, but it was the visitors who touched down first.

Their score came after Edinburgh winger Rob Dewey fielded a chip ahead from Van Gisbergen and offloaded to Southwell, who grubbered the ball past Sackey on the wing and beat him to the touchdown. Edinburgh fly half Phil Godman, who had already missed a penalty in the 5th minute, also missed with the conversion leaving the score at 3-5 the quarter hour.

Wasps responded quickly. Great running with the ball in hand by McKenzie, breaking two tackles on his way into the 22, set up a good platform for Wasps to stretch the Gunners defence, King finding space to go over following continued forwards' pressure on the line, and Van Gisbergen slotting a straight forward conversion for a 10 '5 lead after 17 minutes.

Five minutes later and Wasps were nearly in again. A break from Hoadley was followed by some great offloads and inter-passing between forwards and backs, and only a clever interception by Godman stopped Wasps from scoring in the corner.

The match continued at a cracking pace and Wasps created another scoring opportunity as the half hour ticked round, but couldn't finish it off. A characteristic Erinle break had him fending off several players before being brought down, Hoadley showing great hands to pick up Erinle's pass out of the tackle but then being pulled down himself short, unable to offload for what would have almost certainly be a second Wasps score.

Erinle, whose physical style saw him make much ground

The home side made up for the missed opportunity as the half hour passed. Van Gisbergen gathered a high kick and made a good 50 yards running back, Wasps driving forward from the breakdown to allow McKenzie to drive over from short range for Wasps second of the day.

Edinburgh had a lightening response. As Van Gisbergen looked to counter again, five minutes later, his pass was intercepted out wide by Dey who, although tackled well by Sackey, was able to offload for Dewey to score in the corner, though Godman again missed with the conversion, leaving Edinburgh trailing by 17-10.

Both teams continued to play open rugby, and as the game entered injury time another muscular break by Erinle saw Wasps again interpassing down the wing until Van Gisbergen was brought down in the 22. Wasps recycled but Mustchin's offside transgression disrupted play and earned him a yellow card, Van Gisbergen making no mistake with the ensuing penalty to give Wasps a 20-10 lead at half time.

Wasps continued to play with ambition as the second half got underway. Haskell made two bursts down the left in the opening minutes, first to give Skivington a great run, though he was brought down in the attacking 22, and a second time to offload to Van Gisbergen, who shimmied his way through several covering defenders to plant the ball over the line after 43 minutes, converting his own score for a 27-10 lead.

Wasps' next score came from a driven line out. Alex King punted a penalty to the corner where Wasps threw long to Hart, the Wasps pack rolling a maul back towards the touchline where Shaw touched down in the corner. Van Gisbergen missed his first of the day with the difficult touchline conversion.

Just before the hour, Tom Voyce found space on the left wing to step inside the last defender for Wasps' fifth try of the day, King converting in the absence of Van Gisbergen, who had made way for returning centre Fraser Waters minutes before.

And Waters reminded the crowd of just what they had been missing as the game reached its closing stages, hitting a beautiful line off King from first phase scrum ball to get behind the first line of defence before giving a long pass to Voyce, steaming up on the wing to score his second of the day, and Wasps sixth.

Voyce scored a fine duo of tries in the final quarter

King's conversion looked to have wrapped up the scoring for the day, but Lawson nipped through from a quick tap penalty to score a breakaway try for Edinburgh, replacement fly half Hodge converting, and still there was more to come. Some injury time shenanigans and a yellow card for Simon Taylor in the 84th minute lead to a series of scrums for Wasps on the Edinburgh 5 metre line. Edinburgh's pack, one man down, struggled under the pressure and after penalising them twice in succession, referee Romain Poite lost patience and awarded Wasps a penalty try, which King converted to complete the game.

Director of Rugby Ian McGeechan was, understandably, pleased with his side's performance, and also delighted to see both Waters and back rower Haskell back in the team.

The Man of the Match Award went to Alistair McKenzie for the second home game in succession, after the prop had another stand-out game both in the loose and the set piece.

Wasps Scorers
Tries: King, McKenzie, Van Gisbergen, Shaw, Voyce (2)
Cons:Van Gisbergen (3)
Pen: Van Gisbergen, King (3)

Edinburgh Scorers
Tries: Southwell, Dewey, Lawson
Cons: Hodge

HT: 20-10
Attendance: 7303

Referee: Romain Poite