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London Wasps extended their winning streak to nine successive games after Warren Gatland’s side toppled Gloucester with a 27-17 win at Kingsholm. Three tries to two secured the four points and strengthened Wasps’ position at the top tier of the league table.
Rugby games don’t often produce scores when both sides fail to register a point going into the half-time, however, this game, amazingly did. The first half saw Gloucester throw everything at Wasps, and come close to scoring, but some solid defence kept The Cherry & Whites at bay. Brad Davies had a couple of chances to open the scoring but the Gloucester flyhalf missed two penalty attempts. Edd Thrower also had a long-range chance from 55m out, but the winger also missed. The only major incident in the half was England prop, Phil Vickery, being helped off field after taking a blow to the head.
The second half saw both sides come out firing and it didn’t take long before Wasps scored the first try and points of the game. It came from Simon Shaw after the 6’9’’ giant dived across from close range. It took some good quick hands down the backline to set it up, but the lock was on hand to fend off several challenges and score. It went to the Television Match Official to confirm the try but there was never a doubt that it was a try. Mark Van Gisbergen added the conversion and the scoreboard finally changed from 0-0.
10-minutes later Gatland made his first replacements with Will Green and Trevor Leota coming on for Tim Payne and Phil Greening respectively.
Gloucester’s Simon Amor replaced Davies in the kicking department for the second half and soon added three points from a penalty. At 3-7, it was still an open game but it took a moment of brilliance from Ayoola Erinle to score the game’s and Wasps’ second try. Erinle, playing at centre, sidestepped and jinxed his way around three defenders and over the tryline in the 55th minute. The conversion from Van Gisbergen stretched Wasps lead to 3-14.
Unfortunately minutes later, referee Steve Lander decided that Wasps’ had one too many hands in the ruck and sent Leota to the sin-bin for 10-minutes. It was at this stage that Gloucester knew they had a lifeline back into the game and when No.8, Adam Balding, peeled off a ruck to score the home side’s first try, the entire stadium erupted.
At 10-14 the game came alive and was given the injection of excitement it needed. Wasps had several chances to add another try but some ambitious passing and try-saving defence kept the side from scoring. Just passed the hour mark, Van Gisbergen slotted the first of two penalties, and with the side now leading 20-10 the win was getting closer.
On 80-minutes, Thrower scored the side’s third try and with the conversion from James Brooks making it 27-10, it was almost game over. Amor scored a consolation try in injury time to make it 27-17, but it wasn’t enough as Wasps became the first side to win at Kingsholm in more than 12-months in the Premiership. Erinle was named the Man of the Match.
After the game, Gatland said: “The difference between the sides was that we were experienced at eight, nine and 10 and generally around the park. Yes, we missed out on the bonus but we can’t be greedy.
Gatland also sang the praises for Erinle saying: “I also felt that Ayoola Erinle was sensational. We got a fantastic 80-minutes out of him in this game. In the past I have not seen a better impact player anywhere in the world than Erinle when he comes off the bench for us.
“I think he’s the sort of player you would love to have in the England side, say coming off the bench or even in the Lions squad. He is something special.
He added: “There is a lot more to come from this side in terms of improving for later in the season. I would like to think we’ve sent out a bit of a warning to some other sides that we are going to hit top gear soon and when we do they better watch out.
London Wasps scorers:
Tries: Shaw, Erinle, Thrower.
Con: Van Gisbergen 2, Brooks
Pen: Van Gisbergen
Tries: Balding, Amor
Con: Amor 2
Thrower: x pen
Van Gisbergen: 0 con; 0 con; 0 pen; 0 pen.
Brooks: 0 con.
Davies: x pen; x pen
Amor: 0 pen, 0 con, 0 con.
Man of the Match: