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It was a thoroughly convincing victory over a Gloucester side which never threatened to breach their defence, despite some periods of sustained pressure. Wasps showed clinical finishing and the final winning margin was no more than they deserved.
After an opening passage of play which lasted nearly one-and-a-half minutes and featured a series of hoisted kicks from both sides, Ben Jacobs was penalised for failing to release, just short of his own ten metre line but Carlos Spencer pushed his kick to the left of the posts.
Three minutes later, the fly half opted to go for the corner and the home side’s lineout ball set them up for a series of thrusts, but aggressive Wasps defence forced a knock-on 15 metres out.
After nine minutes of constant pressure, Gloucester were forced into a substitution, as Alastair Dickinson was led from the field, apparently suffering from a shoulder injury and his place was taken by Paul Doran-Jones. The home side were immediately awarded another penalty, 35 metres out, and in front of the posts. This time, Spencer was on target, to give his side a 3-0 lead.
When Wasps finally made it into Gloucester territory, a Mark Van Gisbergen counterattack set up a penalty, 35 metres out. Joe Simpson took a quick tap, to take play up to the 22. The ball was quickly recycled, and Dominic Waldouck spotted a gap in the defence, to cut in and go over near the posts. Dave Walder added the conversion to make it 7-3 with 15 minutes gone, and very much against the run of play.
Four minutes later, a Wasps offence at the breakdown, just outside the 22, gave Spencer another kick at goal and he made no mistake to narrow the gap to a single point.
Within two minutes, Walder responded with a well-struck 30 metre penalty from a few metres in from touch. A flowing Wasps attack then set up half a chance down the right, after Waldouck sent Lemi racing through a gap, but his pass went astray, just outside the 22.
Wasps were now gathering real momentum and another controlled passage of play inside the Gloucester 22, set up a penalty in front of the posts, which Walder drilled over to make it 13-6, with nine minutes of the half to play.
Two minutes from the break, Spencer had a chance to narrow the gap, with a 47-metre penalty, but he connected badly and the ball only rose a few metres from the ground as it sailed wide.
Mark Van Gisbergen
Halftime came with Wasps deservedly leading by seven points. After absorbing the early pressure, they’d come back well and had looked the more dangerous side. With a strong wind in their favour, Gloucester had had plenty of possession and territory, but they’d shown little cutting edge, with the Wasps defence denying them any real try scoring opportunities. Wasps had been far more creative, with Waldouck in impressive form in the centre, Van Gisbergen looking lively on the counter-attack and Lemi posing a threat whenever he had the ball.
Wasps made one change for the second half, with Steve Kefu replacing Ben Jacobs, who was suffering from a sore calf. It was the home side who mounted the first attack of the half with a thunderous charge from Lesley Vainikolo finally setting the Shed roaring. Those roars were soon silenced, when slick handling in the backs saw Lemi send Van Gisbergen crashing over in the corner, seven minutes after the restart. Walder could not add the extra points.
Gloucester then put the Wasps defence under severe pressure and came close to scoring, before a knock-on ended the move in the shadow of the posts. Wasps made another enforced substitution, when Waldouck went off after taking a knock to his face, which looks to be a fracture to his cheekbone, and Eoghan Hickey came on as fullback with Van Gisbergen moving in to the centre.
With the game now at a make or break stage, Gloucester stepped up the pace, and a scything run from James Simpson-Daniel stretched the visitors’ defence. Several waves of attack later, replacement fly half Nicky Robinson knocked on 15 metres out with the wide open spaces beckoning out on the right. A solid scrum gave Joe Simpson the chance to clear and Gloucester were then penalised for offside, just inside their own half. Walder stretched the lead with a magnificent kick, which just crept over the bar, to make it 21-6, with 14 minutes left.
Another injury, this time to John Hart, brought Will Matthews on to the field. A well-worked quick lineout, on the Wasps 22, then gave Simpson the chance to show his pace with a lightning dash down the touchline. It was Simpson who was the provider for the third try, nine minutes from time, when he sent MOTM Serge Betsen over between the posts. Walder’s conversion made it 28-6, and the Kingsholm faithful began to head for the exits, as Dan Leo came on for Richard Birkett, who’d put in another impressive performance in the lineout.
Further changes brought Gabriel Bocca and Bob Baker on, for Joe Ward and Ben Broster, before a Walder break sent Van Gisbergen over for his second try, to bring up the bonus point, three minutes from time. The fly half added the extra points, with another fine kick, to bring the curtain down on a fine team performance.
Next weekend, Wasps return to Adams Park, to take on Leeds Carnegie in the Guinness Premiership. The game kicks off at 1.15 p.m..