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It was action from start to finish as Wasps and Newcastle Falcons scored seven tries between them, with chances for several more going begging at Adams Park last Sunday.
The bonus point win took Wasps back to second in the Guinness Premiership table, as both forwards and backs took their chances in a balanced performance - and the fact that several chances were passed up during the 80 minutes will undoubtedly give coaches and players alike an added incentive as they prepare this week for next Sunday's European opener.
The Falcons took an early lead, with tries from exciting centre pairing Mathew Tait and Jamie Noon, Tait's effort an impressive solo effort that saw him spot a hole in the Wasps defensive line before running around stranded full back Mark Van Gisbergen. However, a yellow card for Falcons lock Jason Oakes on the 20 minute mark, for stamping on Lawrence Dallaglio, was Wasps' cue to step up their game, and the home side punished the 14 man visitors with fifteen points in the next ten minutes.
Dan Leo was first to touchdown after some good attacking work from Paul Sackey gave Wasps a platform, Raphael Ibanez breaking down the short side before passing inside to put Leo in the clear.
We know we've got a lot right, but we also know we want to keep building and keep improving
Tom Voyce was next on the scoresheet. Tom Rees's burst out of a maul centre field put Wasps on the front foot, and quick hands from Lawrence Dallaglio and Tom Palmer gave Voyce the chance to cut back inside the covering Falcons defence and wrestle his way over. Fly half Jeremy Staunton contributed with a penalty and conversion before the ten minutes were up and Oakes returned.
Tom Rees made sure Wasps ended the half on a high, following a well-constructed attack started by Tom Voyce. Voyce scooped up a Joe Shaw fumble to dance through the ragged Falcons midfield and into their 22. The pack kept things going forwards, bashing up the fringes before Staunton moved the ball wide where Rees was in space to stroll over for a simple finish that took the score to 25-12 at the turn around.
Despite exciting line breaks from Rees and Fraser Waters in the third quarter, it wasn't until the 67th minute that Wasps scored again. Falcons' fly half Toby Flood, who didn't have his best day with the boot, contributed Falcons final score of the day with a penalty in the 52nd minute, and though Tait made another good break on the hour, errors in good positions denied Newcastle the consistency to build a scoring move.
After standing firm in defence, Wasps turned to attack again in the final quarter, replacement fly half Alex King orchestrating matters in midfield to give Paul Sackey space to go over in the corner. A final minute try for Josh Lewsey came after James Brooks broke out from his own 22, Skivington, Voyce and Haskell taking the ball on before Lewsey's final tip toe down the touchline allowed him to complete the scoring.
Director of Rugby Ian McGeechan declared himself pleased with the overall performance after the game, saying, 'It was very good to play like that at home. I thought we played at a very good tempo.
'The pleasing thing is that we've scored five tries and got a bonus point - they're pretty hard to come by with the competition in the league so I think when we get one we've got to be pleased about that and know we've got a lot right. But we also know we want to keep building and keep improving.'
Asked whether the yellow card for Oakes made the difference in the game, McGeechan said, 'We'd have won anyway today the way our players were performing.'Captain Lawrence Dallaglio added. 'The pace of the game was what you have come to expect from Wasps and when you think of the tries we could have scored I think the score flatters them really
'I also thought that Mark Van Gisbergen played very well for us today. It was great to have him back and he was one of the few players on the pitch not to make a single mistake. I was really pleased for him, as he had an unlucky start to the season, and its good to have him back just in time for the start of the European campaign.'
If you haven't got your ticket to see Wasps play Castres in the opening round of this season's Heineken Cup at Adams Park next Sunday, you can buy on line here or call the Ticket Hotline on 0870 414 1515.
Referee: Tony Spreadbury
Man of the Match: Tom Rees
Season ticket holders and supporters of London Wasps can look at pictures of the game by clicking on the following link: