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London Wasps recorded their 2nd Zurich Premiership win of the season with a thumping 51-23 victory over local rivals Saracens.
The game, played in front of 8,500 spectators, was the home side’s best performance of the season. Wasps scored five tries to two, and this win moves ‘The men in black’ up into fourth position, on the Zurich log standings.
Director of Rugby, Warren Gatland, gave his side a three-day rest last week, and the rest proved beneficial, as the match produced some fine skills amongst the Wasps backline.
Alex King opened the scoring with a penalty in the third minute, but was soon off, as a cut on his head needed repairing. With King in the blood bin, new signing Mark Van Gisbergen got his first run out on Adams Park. However, Saracens scored the first try of the match when centre Kevin Sorrell crossed over. Andy Goode converted and Saracens led 3-7.
With King still off, Wasps pressed forward and were rewarded when New Zealand prop Craig Dowd, bundled his way over to score his first of two tries. Kenny Logan converted and Wasps led 10-7.
King returned to the field and the rest of the first half was a penalty-kicking contest between Goode, Logan and King. King slotted another two penalties while his opposite number converted three.
In the 35(th) minute a rush of blood to the head saw scrum half Martyn Wood sin binned. Logan moved to scrum half and Wasps played the remaining five minutes of the first half with 14 men.
Wasps hung on and Lawrence Dallaglio led his side in at the break 19-16 ahead.
The second half produced the best rugby of the season from Wasps.
Logan moved back to his wing position and Josh Lewsey took over the No. 9 spot. The switch worked, as a scrum five metres from the Saracens try line saw Lewsey pick up and score his fourth try of the season and Wasps second. King converted and Wasps stretched their lead to 26-16.
Saracens had Ryan Peacey sin binned in the 47(th) minute and this seemed to spur Wasps on.
The pressure mounted and Saracens buckled as captain Lawrence Dallaglio, drove from five yards out to score Wasps third try. King missed the conversion, his only blemish of the day.
Saracens had no answer and even with Peacey back on Wayne Shelford’s side looked beaten with about 15 minutes left to play.
There was no stopping Wasps now and replacement John Rudd raced over in the left-hand corner to secure the bonus point. Van Gisbergen having his first kick at the poles for Wasps made no mistake with the conversion and Wasps stretched the lead to 44-16.
The only consolation for Saracens was when Johnny Marsters forced his way over, Goode converted to take his personal haul to 18 points but it was too little too late.
Wasps had the final say when Dowd plunged over for his second try in the final seconds for Van Gisbergen to again convert.
Warren Gatland said “this was a massive game for us. We needed the win to stay in the top half of the log. I’m happy with the second-half performance of the side. Our discipline was a lot better. We have being working hard during the week on it and this showed today.
Wasps travel to London Irish next Sunday 29 September.