London Wasps have been forced to make a late change to their starting line up ahead of tomorrow's Heineken Cup clash with Glasgow Warriors at Adams Park.
Captain Tom Rees is withdrawn after failure to recover fully from an ankle strain sustained in last weekend's game. Rees is replaced by Serge Betsen who also takes the captaincy for this game.
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Wasps were forced to make one change from their original lineup. Skipper Tom Rees failed a fitness test on an ankle injury he’d suffered against Toulouse. Serge Betsen came in to the side and also took over the captaincy.
Wasps conceded a penalty in the opening minute, for going off their feet at the breakdown but Ruaridh Jackson’s kick, from 45 minutes, dropped just under the bar.
Wasps went ahead on eight minutes, with a fine individual try from Joe Simpson. Quick ball from a scrum a few metres outside the Glasgow 22, gave the scrumhalf the chance to accelerate through a gap on the blindside and race over in the corner. Dave Walder’s conversion was just wide.
Six minutes later, the flyhalf was just off target with a penalty from halfway. Within two minutes of that effort, it was Wasps who were penalised for offside, after Glasgow’s best attack of the game, which took play into the 22. Jackson made no mistake, from near the right touchline. Wasps responded immediately, with a simple Walder penalty from just in front of the Glasgow posts, after a strong chase from the restart. Walder then landed a longer effort, to stretch the lead to 11-3, with 22 minutes gone.
A fine piece of poaching by Simpson then took Wasps the length of the field, after he got his boot to the ball as it squirted out of the Glasgow scrum. He hacked downfield, and his chase put Bernardo Stortoni under pressure, leading to a penalty, and a yellow card for Glasgow prop Moray Low. Wasp opted for a scrum, near the Glasgow line, but were unable to make the most of it, conceding the put-in, This time, they won the ball against the head, and Dave Walder sent a perfectly placed chip through, for Tom Varndell to race through and touch down for his fifth try of the season. Walder’s conversion, from near the right touchline, gave Wasps an 18-3 lead, with 12 minutes of the half left.
Glasgow came back immediately., after a powerful run by Richie Gray set up quick ball, and Graeme Morrison produced a fine chip which bounced into the arms of Ruaridh Jackson, who went over unopposed, and then converted his own try, to bring the the score back to 18-10. A minute later, another strong run by Gray forced Wasps into a breakdown offence, just inside their 22, and Jackson’s fine kick narrowed the gap to just five points, with 35 minutes gone.
Wasps then produced one of their most sustained passages of play, with Zak Taulafo showing his power on more than one occasion, before Glasgow were penalised just outside their 22, and Walder was on target again.
With the game in injury time at the break, Wasps produced another fluent move, and Riki Flutey was almost through, only for a Glasgow hand to deflect the ball away from him, but it was snapped up immediately, and Walder’s long pass finding Ben Jacobs in space on the right. The centre cut inside to beat two defenders and cross for a fine try. Walder’s conversion made the halftime score 28-13.
Wasps made one change at the start of the second half, with Mark Van Gisbergen replacing Richard Haughton at fullback. He was immediately into the action, with a a sniping run through the middle, only to lose the ball in contact, as he approached the Glasgow 22. Glasgow were the first to score after the break, with a simple Jackson penalty, after 48 minutes.
With Dom Waldouck now on for Ben Jacobs, Wasps went up a gear, and Andy Powell, Dan Ward-Smith, Simon Shaw, Charlie Beech and Rob Webber all showed their handling skills in a move which resulted in a penalty for Walder, in front of the posts, and his kick restored the 15-point advantage, with 51 minutes gone.
A Riki Flutey high tackle, just outside his 22, gave Jackson another straightforward penalty, to make the score 31-19, after 62 minutes. After Joe Ward replaced Rob Webber, Wasps then came close to the bonus point try, when Flutey was just beaten to the touchdown,after another neat Walder chip. That fourth try came a minute later, with a wonderful sweeping move, started inside the Wasps 22, and ended by Waldouck, near the left corner, from Dan Ward-Smith’s perfectly weighted pass. Walder, who’s also featured in the move, added the extra points, as Simon Shaw and Zak Taulafo then left the field, replaced by Joe Worsley and Ben Broster.
Glasgow then produced a fine try of their own, when replacement hooker Dougie Hall raced over. Jackson’s conversion put his side within range of a bonus point, with just over ten minutes left. Sensing their opportunity, the visitors began to produce some fluent rugby, and Wasps were forced onto the defensive, with Hall again prominent.
Their pressure almost brought a try in the 72nd minute, but the TMO ruled that they had not grounded the ball, after the forwards forced their way over the line.
Richard Birkett was replaced by Marty Veale, with the clock showing just three minutes to play. That time was all spent in Wasps territory, as the visitors threw everything into an attempt to salvage a bonus point, but the defence held firm, and the game ended with Wasps’ European challenge still very much alive. Joe Simpson was named Man of the Match.
Wasps return to domestic action next Sunday when Northampton Saints are the visitors to Adams Park in the Aviva Premiership - if you have yet to secure your seat book now! Call 0844 225 2990 or online here.