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Match Report

01 Feb 2004: Wasps v Perpignan

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Match Report
Perpignan's Badge USA Perpignan 6
Wasps's Badge Wasps 34
Fixture Type: Heineken Cup Venue: Stade Aimé Giral
Match Date: Sun 01 Feb 2004, Kick Off: 14:00
Referee: Alan Lewis

Wasps romp into the quarterfinals

London Wasps started the week by signing a number of their big-name players including the new England captain Lawrence Dallaglio. They ended the week with a bonus-point victory in France and set-up a Heineken Cup quarter-final showdown with old rivals Gloucester.

Wasps went into the game only needing a draw but the warrior spirit within themselves ensured the 600 travelling fans were given a victory to savour. The game was played in good conditions and Alex King was given an early opportunity to open the scoring. He lined the ball up and as it was struck, King fell to the ground with a thump clutching his thigh as the ball fell well-short of the posts. The flyhalf, who was recalled to the England set-up earlier in the week, looked in obvious pain and needed treatment. After a few minutes he regained his composure and took his place amongst the backs but was relieved of kicking duties by Mark Van Gisbergen.

Minutes later Manny Edmonds and Van Gisbergen were given opportunities to score their side’s points and duly responded with penalties in the 9th and 11th minute respectively.


The Catalans knew they needed to score tries to have a chance of reaching the last 16 and every time they were given a penalty, they kicked into the corners or took a scrum. This game plan seemed to play into Wasps’ hands as their superior firepower and defence kept out any Perpignan attack. Eventually after Wasps conceded another penalty and Edmonds was given the chance to stretch the lead, he landed his second penalty of the afternoon.

The first try of the match came from Jonny O’Connor in the 27th minute. The Irishman found himself in the backline after his forwards rampaged up the middle of the field. The flanker found a gap and exploited it to score under the posts. Van Gisbergen added the two extra points and Wasps took the lead for the first time in the game.

Leading 10-6, Wasps knew they had to be careful around the rucks and mauls as Perpignan looked to drive and run everything. This resulted in a number of professional fouls and eventually the first yellow card was issued. It went to Simon Shaw just before the break. Perpignan knew if they were to get back into this game they would need to score a try while Shaw was off the field. Wasps held on and somehow kept the French at bay, and went into half time leading 10-6.

The second half was do or die for both sides and the next try would decide who would progress into the next stage. After Van Gisbergen landed his second penalty of the day Warren Gatland’s side scored the vital second try. It was started when Trevor Leota stole the ball from a ruck from under the noses of the home side. The Samoan hooker then flipped the ball up to Rob Howley who sped away and released Tom Voyce into the corner. The try was a devastating blow for the home side but put Wasps into a position to push on. After Van Gisbergen landed the conversion to make it 18-6, Gatland brought on his replacements.

It didn’t take long for Wasps to score again as Ayoola Erinle broke free and crossed for the third try of the afternoon. It started from a Van Gisbergen break, which took him up the middle of the field and into the home side’s 22m line. He found Erinle on his shoulder and the big centre was not going to be stopped as he lunged over for his try. Van Gisbergen added the extras and the Wasps’ fans started celebrating.


Perpignan were now crushed and with it went their defence which resulted in Wasps pressing on and being rewarded with the bonus-point try just before full time. It came from Dallaglio who ripped the ball away from a rolling maul and crossed over. It was the final nail in Perpignan’s coffin.

Wasps have now set up a home quarter final against Gloucester that will be played over the weekend of 9-11 April.