PLEASE NOTE THAT M,N,P,Q AND R BLOCKS ARE SOLD OUT IN THE WOODLANDS STAND AND BLOCKS G, F, D AND C ARE SOLD OUT IN THE MAIN STAND..
Supporting Wasps is like being on a roller-coaster ride. One minute you’re up, the next minute you’re down. Having lost three of the first four league games, it’s safe to say The Black & Gold Army are in a slight downer.
The players ran out to crisp sunny conditions in front of a crowd of over 7’700. It didn’t take long for things to get going, as Brendon Daniel scored the first try of the game. The New Zealand winger skipped pasted some wayward tackles and scored under the posts. Olly Barkley landed the conversion and Bath led 7-nil after only two minutes.
However, it didn’t take long before referee, Robin Goodliffe, awarded Wasps a kickable penalty. Mark Van Gisbergen made no mistake in slotting it to make it 3-7.
Moments later Simon Shaw used his power and long arms to score Wasps’ first try of the game. A ruck on the 22m line allowed Rob Howley the opportunity to clear the ball and offload to Tom Voyce. The former Bath fullback/wing was on hand to find Shaw who drove towards the line and with a stretch of his long arms, managed to score under the posts. Van Gisbergen made sure of the penalty and Wasps took a 10-7 lead.
After 20 minutes, Barkley missed a penalty attempt to level the scores but no sooner had he missed, had Daniel scored again. Again, missed tackles from Wasps allowed the former rugby league player to slide in and score his, and Bath’s, second try of the afternoon. Barkley made sure of the conversion and Bath took the lead again.
Approaching half-time, Van Gisbergen, closed the gap to 13-14, after Bath were penalised for playing the ball on the ground. The kiwi was on-song and made sure Wasps stayed within touch.
After a somewhat quiet first half, Voyce made his presence felt at the start of the second. It started from a good break down the touchline that put Bath on the back foot early on. Goodliffe penalised the visitors for being offside and Van Gisbergen took Wasps into a 16-14 lead.
The home side controlled the flow of the game and had heaps of possession. However one thing that was not working well was the lineout. Lock, Steve Borthwick, did well to disrupt the Wasps throw-ins and cause plenty problems.
The first yellow card of the game came when Bath captain, Jonathan Humphreys, was given his marching orders for delaying the lineout. It was an opportunity that Wasps, however, failed to capitalise on, given the strength of the pack
Wasps were awarded another penalty when former Wasps scrumhalf, Martyn Wood, was penalised for holding Paul Volley back and with his 4th penalty of the day, Van Gisbergen made it 19-14.
Ten minutes left on the clock and it was still anyone’s game, but it was Bath that found that bit extra as they were awarded another penalty, which Barkley made no mistake with and narrowed the scores to 19-17.
Moments later Van Gisbergen had an opportunity to extend the lead but unfortunately failed &ndash it was his first miss of the day.
Bath could smell a win and on 80 minutes, Shaw was yellow carded for killing the ball while defending his line. Barkley was never going to miss from in front of the posts and landed the kick to make it 19-20 in favour of Bath.
Van Gisbergen tried to land a 40m-drop goal attempt but missed and it was game over.
Asked what Wasps need to do get the campaign going, Warren Gatland said,
“ A lot of teams we played last season, played pretty well, but forgot how to win. We’ve got ourselves on a role on how to lose it. The boot’s on the other foot at the moment. We’ve been training well, the guys are working hard and there were a lot of good things to come out of today. Sometimes all it needs is that ‘W’ on the scoresheet. It doesn’t matter how it’s done, but that can be the turning point.
“At the end of the day, for me, there were two teams out there. One trying to force a few things and lacking a little bit of confidence who were up against a team with a lot of confidence and who kept their patience.
“The difference between the sides was some poor decisions at crucial times.
“Next week we have a tough game away to Sale and it’s a good test of character for the players and coaching staff to get out there and work really hard.