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Match Report
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27 Oct 2007: Wasps v Newport Gwent Dragons

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Match Report
Newport's Badge Newport Gwent Dragons 3
Wasps's Badge Wasps 3
Fixture Type: EDF Energy Cup Venue: Rodney Parade
Match Date: Sat 27 Oct 2007, Kick Off: 17:30
Referee: Dean Richards Touch Judge 1: Bob Mullis
TV Match Official: Tony Rowlands Touch Judge 2: David Kurk

EDF opener ends even

In difficult conditions, Wasps ground out a 3-3 draw with Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade in the first round of the EDF Cup.

A penalty for Ceri Sweeney in the 36th minute prevented the crowd from having to endure a scoreless first half, but as the drizzle eased off in the second forty, Wasps were able to up the pace with the wind at their backs.

Cipriani had a try disallowed in the 50th minute, but though Van Gisbergen pushed a penalty just wide of the far post in the 52nd, Cipriani was able to draw his side level with a 45 metre long range kick three minutes later, and the teams remained all square for the remainder of the game.

EDF opener ends even

The first half opened in wet and windy conditions, a persistent drizzle making both the pitch and ball greasy. There was little to bring the crowd to their feet, but Wasps played with patience and belief - captain Reddan making the call to go for the corner with two early kickable penalty opportunities. On both occasions the Wasps pack could not stay on their feet, and mistakes allowed the Dragons to clear to half way.

With both sides playing conservatively close to the breakdown, the contact area was fiercely contested and referee Dean Richards - a familiar face to Wasps after officiating in last week's local derby against Quins, was kept busy. Indeed, for Richards the Dragons challenge at the breakdown became too ill-disciplined as the second quarter got underway, and he showed Colin Charvis a yellow card just before the half hour.With both sides making frequent use of the up and under in the wet conditions, Mark Van Gisbergen was kept busy in defence, but also seeing plenty of ball in attack too, countering well and coming into the line to look for work. Captain Reddan was also doing a good job tidying up at the base of the ruck despite the greasy ball.

However, it was the Dragons who went in at the interval with their noses ahead as, when blood replacement Dan Leo infringed at a Dragons attacking scrum, referee Richards showed him the second yellow card of the night and Ceri Sweeney stepped up to get his side off the mark with the consequent penalty.

With the drizzle easing off at the start of the second half Wasps, with the wind at their backs, raised the tempo and the next fifteen minutes was their best period of the game.

EDF opener ends even

Tom Rees, playing his first game for Wasps since returning from World Cup duty, was getting his hands on the ball much more and began to make some characteristic barnstorming runs. It was his slick hands and supporting charge off the back off a Van Gisbergen counter attack that threatened the Dragons line with Wasps most dangerous attack within ten minutes of the restart.

But when Rees spilled the ball breaking a tackle with that charge the Dragons kicked possession back to Wasps, allowing Cipriani to go one better than Rees and chase his own kick over the line to touch down near the corner. However, the match TMO adjudged Cipriani to have held back defending winger Gareth Wyatt in the chase for the ball, and disallowed the try.Two more penalty opportunities quickly followed, and though Van Gisbergen was just wide with the first, Cipriani's 45 metre attempt just had the legs to put Wasps even in the 55th minute.

Dragons enjoyed their best chance of the second half as they attacked from the restart. Charvis's break from a ruck gave the platform for centre Gomer Davies to attack down the right flank, but a handling error in the tackle denied the Dragons the chance to capitalise on his run.

Rees continued to make an impression on the opposition with the ball in hand, but with support and handling made difficult by the wet ball Wasps were unable to get over the line, despite some good work from Waters and Flutey backing up the flanker's efforts.

EDF opener ends even

Waters looked to have finally given Wasps the chance to snatch victory with just five minutes left to play when he picked up a pass that had gone to ground deep in the Dragons 22. Recovering well, Waters ducked the tackles to threaten the line, but with the support one sided, he looked the wrong way and was swallowed up by the Welsh defence.

A tense final few minutes followed when Dragons enjoyed a period of attacking possession within kickable distance of the Wasps posts, but the visitors kept their discipline and won back possession, though they could not capitalise on a final chance to attack and had to settle for the draw at full time.

After the game, Wasps Director or Rugby, Ian McGeechan was angry at the TMO's influence in ruling out Cipriani's try, describing his chase to the line with Wyatt as " only jockeying for position between the two"

Furthermore, after a quick recourse to the rule book he confirmed, "It was in the field of play and he is not allowed [to ask for the TMO's advice] in the field of play on anything.
"It's disappointing because we are pretty certain this has been done in the field of play and not in the try area [where he could ask for the TMO's help]."

MOTM Dan Lydiate
HT: 3-0
Referee: Dean Richards