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Match Report
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02 Oct 2011: London Wasps v Newcastle Falcons

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Match Report
Falcons's Badge Newcastle Falcons 15
London Wasps's Badge London Wasps 10
Fixture Type: Aviva Premiership Venue: Kingston Park
Match Date: Sun 02 Oct 2011, Kick Off: 15:30
Referee: Sean Davey Assistant Referee: Ashley Rowden
Assistant Referee: Alan Hughes

Gopperth's boot punishes Wasps at Newcastle

London Wasps suffered a 15-10 defeat at Kingston Park with Jimmy Gopperth proving the home-town hero with five kicks booting his side to victory.

Wasps were forced to make a change to their announced starting lineup, when Riki Flutey pulled out with a calf strain. Chris Mayor came into the team, with Chris Bell moving to inside centre.

There was no evidence of the recent heatwave at Kingston Park, where the skies were grey, and steady rain was falling, from the kickoff.

Wasps got off to a bad start when they conceded a penalty just outside their 22, giving Gopperth a simple shot at goal, which he landed easily.

The men in Black And Gold came roaring back, and took the lead after 6 minutes. After winning a lineout, a few metres inside the Newcastle half they drove infield, before releasing the ball to Nic Berry. It was moved quickly out to the right, and Chriss Bell fed Christian Wade, who was close to the right touchline. Despite having very little space, he beat Alex Tait on the outside, and raced 30 metres for his fifth try of the season which was converted by Ryan Davis.

They then came close to a second try, after Davis put a little grubber kick behind the defence, and it appeared that Jonathan Poff might have got to the ball, after Tait attempted to touch down for a 22. In the absence of a TMO, it could not be referred, and the decision went Newcastle’s way.

An encouragingly powerful Wasps scrum, just inside the Newcastle half, brought a penalty, but Davis sent his kick wide, from 44 metres. Gopperth made no mistake, when Wasps were caugh offside at a lineout on their 22, and his second successful kick made it 7-6, after 21 minutes.

A blood injury brought Jeremy Castex on for Tim Payne, but the Wasps scrum continued to look strong but Wasps were unable to turn pressure into points, as the rain continued to fall. A good run by Chris Mayor almost created a chance down the left, but Joe Launchbury was unable to get a pass away to Wade or Tom Varndell, who had oceans of space in front of them.

Seven minutes before the break, Davis was just short with a long-range penalty, after further good work by the Wasps forwards. In the final minute of the half, Wasps were penalised for coming in at the side of the breakdown, a few metres in from touch, and Gopperth put the home side back in front with an excellent kick from 35 metres – a frustrating end to a half in which Newcastle had showed no attacking threat, and had only entered the Wasps 22 once. Had Wasps taken advantage of their dominance in territory and possession, and taken a couple of half chances, they could have been comfortably ahead.

Wasps had another half chance in the first minute of the second half, when Berry raced away from a maul, just inside the Wasps half. Tom Varndell was coming alongside him, on the outside, but he chose to kick ahead, and the defence managed to make the ball safe. Six minutes later, Gopperth stretched the lead to 12-7, with another well-struck kick, after Ross Filipo was penalised for an illegal tackle, following a lineout, 15 metres inside the Wasps half.

Wasps eventually put points on the board, as the game entered the final quarter, when the home side were penalised at the breakdown, and Ryan Davis was on target from 30 metres, to make the score 12-9.

Gopperth went for a long drop at goal, but Launchbury did well to charge the kick down, and Newcastle went close to a try, when they gathered the loose ball, and Luke Eves burst into the 22, only to lose the ball in contact. The flyhalf did add three more points, three minutes later, with another 40-metre penalty, following another breakdown offence, in midfield, with just over 10 minutes left.

With Simon McIntyre on for Ben Broster, Wasps then controlled possession for a series of phases, deep inside the Newcastle half, but the well organised home defence stood firm, and they ended up being driven back beyond halfway. The closing minutes saw a series of charged down kicks, but the home side enjoyed the luck of the bounce, on more than one occasion.

Newcastle then managed to play the clock down until the final minute, when they conceded a scru, a few metres inside the Wasps half. After securing possession, Wasps kept the ball alive for at least three minutes, but they were unable to breach the defence, and were forced to make do with a bonus point, after another frustrating afternoon

After two weeks on the road, Wasps are back on home territory next Sunday, when Bath are the visitors to Adams Park.

Wasps team
15. Hugo Southwell 14. Tom Varndell 13. Chris Mayor 12. Chris Bell 11. Christian Wade 10. Ryan Davis 9. Nic Berry 1. Tim Payne 2. Rob Webber 3. Ben Broster 4. Richard Birkett 5. Ross Filipo 6. Joe Launchbury 7. Jonathan Poff 8. John Hart ( c )
Replacements:
16. Tom Lindsay 17. Jeremy Castex 18. Simon McIntyre 19. Joe Burton 20. Matt Everard 21. Jonah Holmes 22. Elliot Daly 23. Jack Wallace

Newcastle
15 Alex Tait 14 Luke Fielden13 Corne Uys12 Jamie Helleur11 Ryan Shortland10 Jimmy Gopperth 9 Will Chudley 1 Grant Shiells2 Joe Graham3 Ashley Wells4 James Hudson (captain) 5 Tim Swinson 6 Richard Mayhew7 Will Welch 8 Ally Hogg

Replacements
16 Michael Mayhew 17 Darren Fearn 18 James Hall 19 Glen Townson 20 Mark Wilson 21 Chris Pilgrim 22 Luke Eves 23 Alex Tait