London Wasps have been forced to withdraw full back Ben Jacobs ahead of their clash with Leeds at Headingley Carnegie this afternoon. Jacobs has sustained a minor knee strain which has forced the late change. In his place England U20s and Academy full back Jack Wallace will make his third senior appearance and first start of the season in black and gold. On the bench, 18 year old Elliot Daly comes in for Wallace. Daly, a Whitgift School pupil and Academy member with England U16, U18 and U20 honours to his name, gathers his first inclusion in a senior match 23 after impressing with Wasps A league campaign this season.
London Wasps team to face Leeds Carnegie at Headingley Carnegie on Sunday 31st October KO 3pm:
15 Jack Wallace, 14 Tom Varndell, 13 Dominic Waldouck, 12 Steve Kefu, 11 David Lemi, 10 Mark Van Gisbergen, 9 Joe Simpson, 1 Tim Payne, 2 Joe Ward,3 Ben Broster, 4 Marty Veale, 5 Dan Ward-Smith, 6 Joe Worsley, 7 Tom Rees (C), 8 Andy Powell
16 Rob Webber, 17 Zak Taulafo, 18 Jason Hobson, 19 James Cannon, 20 Serge Betsen, 21 Nic Berry, 22 Seb Jewell, 23 Elliot Daly
Wasps were forced to make one change from the original line-up, after Ben Jacobs suffered a minor knee strain. Jack Wallace took his place at full back with Elliott Daly joining the replacements.
The opening passage of play lasted nearly two minutes, with Leeds twice hoisting high kicks, and Wasps twice showing a readiness to counter-attack. Leeds conceded a free kick at the opening scrum and Wasps kept the ball alive for a good three minutes, before Mark Van Gisbergen opted to chip to touch inside the home 22. In the eighth minute, the Leeds defence was caught offside halfway between their 22 and the ten-metre line, ten metres in from touch, but Van Gisbergen pushed his kick to the left of the posts.
Wasps kept up the pressure, after Tom Varndell charged down Ceiron Thomas’s attempted clearance, but Leeds managed to work the ball clear.
Wasps were continuing to dominate possession, without threatening the Leeds defence, but Tom Rees’ ambitious offload was intercepted near the Wasps ten metre line giving the home side the chance to pose the first serious threat of their own. Skipper Marco Wentzel and flanker Kearnan Myall both made good ground, but the move was ended by a knock-on 15 metres from the Wasps line.
With Leeds lining up a penalty, after Wasps were penalised for a high tackle, Serge Betsen came on as a blood replacement for Joe Worsley. Ceiron Thomas sent his kick wide from 42 metres.
An overthrown Wasps lineout, just outside the Leeds 22, gave the home side the opportunity to show some quick handling to attack wide down the right. They then swung the ball back out to the left and Henry Faafili forced his way into the 22. A further attack down ended in a knock on just short of the line.
With Joe Worsley not returning due to a facial laceration, Betsen’s substitution became permanent. Leeds turned down two kickable penalties, preferring to set up attacking lineouts, but possession was turned over and Varndell sent a long kick downfield to relieve the pressure. With just over five minutes of the half left, Wasps went ahead with a spectacular solo effort from Joe Simpson. The scrum half broke from a scrum just inside his own half and raced through an inviting gap before veering round the final defender and outpacing the chasers, to go over by the posts for a memorable score. Van Gisbergen landed the conversion.
Mark Van Gisbergen
The restart led to a scrum at which Wasps were penalised. This time, Thomas went for goal from wide out on the right and he made no mistake with an excellent kick to open his side’s account.
The full back then gave Wasps a good attacking position, when he failed to gather Jack Wallace’s low raking kick just outside his 22. With the clock at zero, Wasps controlled the ball well through several phases before a forward pass ended a half in which Wasps had looked more assured with ball in hand, but the Leeds pack had been solid stealing scrums and lineouts.
Wasps went further ahead, six minutes after the restart, following a patient and controlled build up in which Joe Ward and Dan Ward-Smith had both worked hard. After Ward was stopped on the line, Tom Rees was on hand to force his way over. Van Gisbergen’s second conversion made it 14-3, as Jason Hobson took the place of Ben Broster who’d also made some hard yards in the build-up to Rees’s try
An offence at the breakdown gave Van Gisbergen a shot at the posts, from just over 40 metres, but his kick was short and wide to the right.
Leeds came right back into the game with a well-worked try by Luther Burrell, wide on the right, after a powerful run by number 8 Daniel Browne had put the Wasps defence on the back foot. Thomas’s kick hit the post.
Former Wasps scrum half Warren Fury entered the fray, in place of Scott Mathie, while Wasps sent Zak Taulafo and Rob Webber on for Tim Payne and Joe Ward. The replacements made an immediate impact, as the Leeds scrum was sent backwards at a rate of knots, conceding a penalty near their 22. Van Gisbergen landed the kick, to give Wasps a nine-point cushion with 19 minutes remaining.
As the minutes ticked away, Leeds camped in the Wasps 22 before a mighty effort by the visitors’ pack turned a vital scrum near the posts. Andy Powell used his strength to make a few yards and Leeds were penalised enabling Wasps to clear from their 22 for the first time in nearly ten minutes.
Although Leeds put everything into a final effort to salvage something from the game, the Wasps defence stood firm to secure a much neededfour points and eight place in the league.
The Aviva Premiership now takes a two-week break for the opening pool games in the LV=Cup. Wasps are away to Exeter Chiefs next weekend before returning to Adams Park on Sunday14th November, when they take on Bath. Tickets for this game which kick offs at 3pm are on sale now - call 0844 2252990 or buy online here.