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Match Report

26 Jan 2007: Wasps v Worcester

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Match Report
Worcester's Badge Worcester Warriors 3
Wasps's Badge Wasps 3
Fixture Type: Guinness Premiership Venue: Sixways Stadium
Match Date: Fri 26 Jan 2007, Kick Off: 20:00
Referee: Chris White Touch Judge: Steve Savage
Touch Judge: Paul Dix

Three all thriller

London Wasps came away from Sixways on Friday evening with more points than ever before, but there will likely be a twinge of disappointment in the hearts of McGeechan's men, who had the chances to snatch victory over a brave Worcester Warriors team in the last minutes of this defence dominated match.

Three all thriller

The influence of Phil Larder at Sixways was clear to see, as Worcester made life difficult for Wasps, denying them possession and with it the opportunity to build momentum or put pace on the game.

Despite this it was Wasps who had the first chance, when Dominic Waldouck charged down Shane Drahm's attempted clearance. Both men chased the ball to the corner, but it was Drahm who narrowly won the race.

Waldouck continued to look dangerous in the early stages and intelligent kicking from Dave Walder kept Wasps pinned in their half, but despite the upper hand in terms of territory, Wasps were starting to suffer in the set piece.

Given a torrid time in the scrum from the start, Wasps also lost their first three lineouts. Indeed, such was the Warriors dominance here that, despite trailing on the score board, Worcester captain Pat Sanderson snubbed three kickable penalties in the second quarter in order to kick for the corner and pressure the Wasps line.

In this area of their game however, the visitors were comfortable. Though Worcester enjoyed a good spell towards the end of the half, Wasps defence was solid, repelling the driven line out and containing some lively attacks down the right flank from Warriors winger Aisea Havili.

The home scrum half, Matt Powell was also enjoying some success, and it was he that orchestrated Worcester's best attack of the first half with a dummy and break. With Wasps defence covering across, Powell grubbered the ball through Wasps full back Mark Van Gisbergen who, seeing the danger, obstructed Powell and was shown the yellow card for his trouble.

Drahm's equalising penalty came on the stroke of half time and as the teams ran in for the break, Wasps were well aware they faced a tough challenge to get ahead in the second half.

Warriors good spell continued at the start of the second period with probably their best period of pressure in the game. Again it came from a stolen line out, from which Worcester attacked through the centre and set up camp on Wasps' line.The visitors defence was superb however, containing the Worcester pick and drive with aggressive work around the fringes and then driving them back a full thirty meters with some fearsome tackling.

This moment seemed to tip the balance in Wasps favour, and with Eoin Reddan on for Simon Amor, the replacement scrum half had his men working the blind side well to threaten the Worcester line before running out of room.

At the start of the final quarter both Walder and Worcester fly half James Brown had penalty attempts fall short, but it was Wasps who had the best of the final stages with the ball in hand.

First Tom Palmer, on for Simon Shaw, seing an opportune chance, plucked the ball up as it bobbled out of the back of a ruck and made a 50 metre dash into the Worcester 22. But the lock hurried his pass to the supporting Jonny O'Connor when perhaps he should have backed himself to score. The flanker was unable to hold onto the pass, and the chance was lost.

Still to come however was Wasps best attacking move of the game. With less than ten minutes to go, Dave Walder sprang Waldouck on the half break, who timed his pass well to Fraser Waters in support. Waters took the ball on and delayed his pass to replacement full back Danny Cipriani, attracting defenders. Cipriani then showed great skill, taking the pass one handed and behind him whilst running at full pace, and the youngster looked to be in at the corner. He dived for the line, but was tackled superbly into touch by a wonderfully timed, last gasp hit from winger Havili.

Wasps pressed on, and in the last minute of the match had the try line in their sights again. This time it was replacement hooker Raphael Ibanez who snaffled the ball out of a maul and started on a charge upfield. His long pass found Eoin Reddan in space, who fed Voyce steaming up the wing, but again Worcester's scramble defence was on hand and Voyce lost control of the ball in the tackle, allowing referee Chris White to signal full time and the honours were shared.

On the whole, Wasps coaches Ian McGeechan and Shaun Edwards were satisfied that a draw was a fair result, with praise for Wasps defence but feeling a little bit of disappointment about the missed chances in attack.

Three all thriller

'We finished quite strongly, and in the last period of the game a little bit of composure would have seen us home,' said McGeechan, 'but I think we struggled for possession today. Our defence was superb and has come out on top again, but we didn't show the execution we needed in attack to get the result that we wanted.

'It's been a tough week and a tough month for us, but the team went out on the pitch and fronted up today, and that shows the sort of spirit we have in the club at the moment.

'Our five metre defence was superb and that is defence out the top drawer, but whilst we have composure in abundance in defence, is not quite there in attack. That's where the disappointment lies tonight.'

Head Coach Edwards agreed. 'It was a very, very tight affair, with both sides not able to take advantage of the slight chances that were out there,' he said.

'Worcester were dominant in certain aspects of the game and they've improved their defence massively since the last time we came here. I think honours shared was a fair result.'

HT 3-3
Referee: Chris White