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London Wasps have been forced to withdraw Simon Shaw from Sunday's Aviva Premiership clash with Northampton Saints at Adams Park. Shaw sustained a calf injury in training late yesterday afternoon and will not recover in time for the Round 6 fixture. James Cannon comes into the staring line up for Shaw and partners Dan Ward-Smith in the second row. Marty Veale takes Cannon's place on the bench.
London Wasps team to face Northampton Saints in the Aviva Premiership at Adams Park on Sunday 24th October, KO 3PM:
15 Mark Van Gisbergen, 14 Tom Varndell, 13 Dominic Waldouck, 12 Riki Flutey, 11 David Lemi, 10 Dave Walder, 9 Joe Simpson, 1 Tim Payne, 2 Rob Webber, 3 Zak Taulafo, 4 James Cannon, 5 Dan Ward-Smith, 6 Joe Worsley, 7 Tom Rees (C), 8 Andy Powell
Replacements: 16 Joe Ward, 17 Charlie Beech, 18 Ben Broster, 19 Marty Veale, 20 Serge Betsen, 21 Nic Berry, 22 Steve Kefu, 23 Ben Jacobs
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Northampton made an impressive start when they safely controlled Dave Walder’s kickoff and mounted a slow but powerful drive towards the halfway line where Wasps were penalised. Stephen Myler’s kick comfortably had the distance but sailed to the right of the posts.
They did another good job with Walder’s dropout and took play through numerous phases before spilling the balljust outside the 22. From the scrum Wasps forced a penalty and were able to take play into the Northampton half for the first time since the kickoff. Wasps won the lineout but a knock-on gave possession to the visitors, who launched another sustained attack which ended when Brian Mujati was forced into touch just outside the 22.
The continuing pressure finally told after seven minutes when the Saints eight forced a penaltyand Myler had a simple kick from in front of the posts to open the scoring.
When Wasps finally won good possession and started to move the ball, the movement broke down through a knockon and Northampton continued to dominate play.Winning another penalty just outside the 22, Myler couldnt add the points and pushed his kick wide.
With Northampton in control, forcing some crunching tackles from the defence, the first try came when Myler finished off another sustained attack a few metres in from the right touchline. The conversion hit the left post but dropped back infield.
The first quarter of the game ended with Wasps having barely set foot in the opposition half and the Saints pack dominating every area. It was that forward dominance which brought the second try after 24 minutes. From a kickable penalty, they opted to kick to the corner. They won the lineout and controlled the ball in an unstoppable drive for the line which ended with Soane Tonga’uiha. Myler’s conversion made the score 15-0 a fair reflection of their total control.
On 27 minutes Wasps found their way into the Saints 22 following a Walder penalty. They won untidy lineout ball and managed to take the ball through a number of phases before conceding a turnover.
Play then stopped for attention to Riki Flutey, who was eventually forced to leave the field, clearly suffering from an injury to his right leg. Ben Jacobs took his place in the centre.
Seven minutes from the break, Northampton went further ahead after stealing possession from a Wasps scrum. Myler put in a perfectly judged chip to the corner and Chris Ashton, who’d appeared to be a couple of metres offside, raced on to the ball to crash over near the corner. Myler added another conversion to give Saints a 22-0 lead.
Wasps finally got points on the board when Walder landed a penalty from inside the 22, a few metres to the left of the posts, after a spell of sustained possession in Northampton territory.
Northampton applied the pressure again and Wasps were penalised at the breakdown. Myler’s successful kick was the last act of a half of total domination from the visitors as reflected by the 25-3 scoreline.
Wasps made a number of changes to their pack for the second half with Marty Veale, Charlie Beech and Ben Broster replacing James Cannon, Tim Payne and Zak Taulafo. But the visitors continued where they’d left off establishing immediate position in the Wasps 22. Opening the half more positively though, Mark Van Gisbergen’s run downfield put Northampton briefly on the back foot. They recycled quickly and spun the ball out to Tom Varndell but he was immediately swallowed up by the defence.
When Northampton got their hands on the ball their forwards showed some impressive handling skills with a series of deft offloads from the likes of Mujati and Tonga’uiha. When their scrum forced another penalty near the line they kicked to touch at the corner. They won the lineout, steadied themselves and bulldozed their way over for the bonus point try scored by Tonga’uiha. Myler landed a superb touchline conversion to give his side a 32-3 lead.
Wasps began to throw the ball around and forced a series of penalties inside the Northampton 22, leading to the referee having a quick word with skipper Dylan Hartley but things went from bad to worse for Wasps when Joe Simpson went down after a courageous tackle on England lock Courtney Lawes. After a couple of minutes of treatment the scrum half left the field with a sore shoulder and was replaced by Nic Berry. Northampton then added a fifth try, almost identical to the fourth, with the only difference being that it was Lawes who applied the finishing touch after the forwards had won another close range lineout and steamrollered their way over. Myler missed his conversion and Wasps then brought Joe Ward on for Rob Webber.
With just under a quarter of an hour left, Wasps crossed the Saints line after Ben Jacobs charged down a clearance kick a few metres outside the 22. He showed good handling skills to gather the awkwardly bouncing ball and went clear to go over near the corner. Walder landed an excellent conversion before Steve Kefu and Serge Betsen replaced Mark Van Gisbergen and Tom Rees.
In the dying minutes, Beech, Powell and Ward-Smith all combined to bring Wasps close to a second try as they hammered away at the line but Northampton defended as if they were only leading by a single point and kept the door firmly shut despite intense pressure.
Shane Geraghty, on for Myler, almost created another Northampton try with an inch-perfect kick into the arms of Paul Diggin out wide on the left but a last-ditch tackle, from a Wasps side eager to hold their last defence forced him to spill the ball.
Wasps spent the last few minutes chasing a consolation try but they were unable to find a way through the defence finishing with a frustrating 10-37 defeat.
Wasps travel to Headingley next Sunday to face Leeds Carnegie in the Aviva Premiership. Their next home game will be on Sunday, November the 14th, when they take on Bath in the LV=Cup.