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London Wasps scored 30 points to 15 to defeat bottom placed Leeds in the Zurich Premiership this afternoon.
<1>Wasps outscored Leeds by four tries to two, with Voyce, Erinle, Rees and Leota all getting on the score sheet for Wasps. Leota's injury time score secured Wasps the bonus point. It was great to see fans’ favourite Leota back to some of his barnstorming form when he came on to replace Phil Greening in the second half. However, the after game plaudits and Man of the Match award went to young open side talent Tom Rees (pictured left), who had a hand in the first try, set up the second and scored the third in a remarkable first half display.
Wasps began the game strongly, and scored their first try after just seven minutes. A break by Rees in midfield was supported well by John Hart, who committed the remaining cover defence to put Premiership top scorer Tom Voyce over in the corner.
Van Gisbergen missed the conversion in what was a disappointing day with the boot for him, having missed an early penalty opportunity on three minutes and the following conversion before handing over the place kicking duties to Alex King.
Wasps scored again on 19 minutes. David Doherty, Leeds bright new talent in the back three, had just slotted a penalty to get Leeds on the scoreboard and from the restart, Wasps regained possession. The ball came out to Rees in midfield, who blasted through the gap between Leeds centres and into open space. A nifty sidestep saw him past another defender before the cover defence caught him yards short of the line. Wasps were able to recycle quickly however, and Erinle barged over from short range.
The next fifteen minutes saw Leeds getting back into the game, retaining possession and thus forcing Wasps to defend. When they did relinquish possession, via an up and under from David Rees, the ball was well gathered by Van Gisbergen who counter attacked strongly and forced the penalty, which Alex King slotted to stretch the lead to 13-3.
Leeds were here to battle however, and on the half hour mounted their most threatening attack of the game to date, working their way into Wasps twenty-two where Mark Regan threw to the line-out just ten yards from Wasps line. Tykes forwards were unable to mount a drive however, and Wasps turned over possession to relieve the pressure.
Wasps ended the half as strongly as they had begun. Sackey, who was involved frequently and got through some good work in the first half, breaking up the blind side for Wasps to recycle quickly. Erinle, Van Gisbergen and Rees then made ground in the midfield before Fury broke through and looked sure to score his first Premiership try. However, referee Stave Lander called play back for a forward pass, and Fury’s moment was gone.
<2>Seven minutes into first half injury time and Voyce was on the break again, finding support from Van Gisbergen who passed back inside for Man of the Match Rees to round off the half with a touch down, King adding the extras for a 20-3 lead at the turnaround.
Leeds began the second half with purpose, pushing Wasps back onto their try line from the restart. The Yorkshire outfit kept play in the Wasps half for the next ten minutes before a lovely pass from Leeds blind side Dan Hyde put hooker Mark Regan through. Wasps were left flat footed as Leeds found themselves with a four man overlap, prop Matt Holt receiving the final pass to score, Doherty’s conversion bringing Leeds back to 20-10.
King missed a penalty as the hour mark approached, and Wasps were in danger of losing their shape and starting to look tired after the week’s training camp in Poland, from which they returned only on Tuesday. But on the hour the replacements entered the fray, including Trevor Leota.
Initially, Leeds kept the pressure on, as a quick penalty close to the line saw another prop, in the shape of Mike Shelley, crossing the tryline to close the scoreline to 20-15. From the restart however, it was the Wasps heavyweights who were doing the crowd pleasing. Leota made his presence felt with some bundling runs through the visitors defence. With minutes of ordinary time left, Erinle made a characteristic break, fending off two Leeds defenders before finding Brooks, who had Wasps prop Will Green on his shoulder. Green was away and heading for the line, but was dragged down inches short of what would have been the third props’ try of the day.
It was down to Leota therefore to secure the front row score for the home team. Deep into injury time Leeds conceded a penalty ten yards out. Fury took it quickly and big Trev was on hand to bulldoze over under the posts for the bonus point. Van Gisbergen’s conversion wrapped up the game, final score 30-15.
Wasps Director of Rugby Warren Gatland said afterwards, “I was very satisfied with today’s performance. The squad have only had one training session since returning form Poland, so I was very pleased with the way they performed.
On the return to the team of talismanic hooker Trevor Leota, Gatland felt, It’s great to see Trevor back and hungry. That showed in his involvement in the second half, and in scoring a try to get us the bonus point in the dying moments.