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After a tight encounter, in which there had been precious few try scoring opportunities, they had gone 12-9 down, five minutes from time. But one last attack, prompted by a typical burst of speed from Joe Simpson, set up the chance for Richard Birkett to go over for the match winning score.
The Wasps pack got off to an excellent start, with a powerful shove at the first scrum earning a penalty, enabling Nick Robinson to find touch, just outside the home 22. Wasps won the lineout and moved the ball out wide, but the ball was spilt, and Worcester counterattacked from near their line. A kick down the left resulted in Nick Robinson being penalised for not releasing, and Andy Goode was on target, to give his side the lead, with five minutes gone.
With the dewy conditions making the ball greasy, the opening few minutes saw a series of handling errors, but Wasps came close to a score when a Robinson grubber kick to the corner went just beyond the reach of Tom Varndell and rolled into touch in goal.
The Wasps set pieces continued to function well, and a successful lineout catch and drive yielded a penalty, 40 metres out, and near the right touchline. Nick Robinson levelled the scores, with an excellent kick.
Another Robinson kick to the corner saw Wasps steal a Worcester lineout, and a sustained attack produced another free kick. Wasps opted for a scrum, and the ball was moved quickly to Varndell on the blind side. He tried a grubber kick, but Marcel Garvey got in the way, and hacked downfield. As Joe Simpson raced back to gather, the Worcester winger was adjudged to have taken him out off the ball, and Wasps were awarded a penalty, 35 metres out. This time, Robinson pushed his kick well wide.
The game then became rather scrappy, with a series of high kicks and little fluent attacking play, but Wasps came close to going ahead, five minutes before the break, when Robinson’s 40-metre penalty fell just short.
A minute before halftime, Wasps had another kickable penalty, but Robinson chose to kick to the corner. Wasps lost the lineout, but managed to win a turnover, and hammered away at the Worcester line for a good two minutes. Joe Simpson went close, with one burst, but the defence held firm. Excellent ball retention, through further phases, eventually gave Robinson the chance to get into the perfect position for a drop at goal, and he made no mistake, to give Wasps a deserved half-time lead. Their 6-3 advantage was scant reward for a half in which their forwards had much the better of things.
With Joe Carlisle replacing Andy Goode, Worcester began the second half strongly, and the Wasps defence was put under serious pressure for the first time. After five minutes camped in the Wasps 22, Worcester won a penalty, a few metres from the right touchline, and Carlisle’s kick put the home side on level terms.
Five minutes later, another powerful Wasps scrum sent the home eight ten yards backwards, into their own half. Their efforts were rewarded with a penalty in midfield, on the ten metre line, and Robinson put Wasps back in front.
The lead lasted just six minutes, as Robinson’s poor kick downfield failed to make much ground, and Wasps conceded a penalty, near their ten metre line. Carlisle was again on target.
Chris Mayor became the first Wasps replacement of the night, when he came on for Chris Bell, just before the game entered the final quarter.
He was soon involved in the best move of the night, when Wasps broke the line down the right, but a rash pass back infield went astray, a few metres inside the home 22.
Joe Simpson then showed his speed, with a run down the left, but was unable to find Varndell, who was backing up on the outside. For the first time, the Worcester pack began to get better of the scrums, with one powerful effort leading to a penalty which enabled them to relieve the pressure.
Wasps immediately made another substitution, when Rob Webber came on for Steve Thompson.
With time running out, tension mounted, as both sides sought the decisive score. Six minutes were left on the clock, when Wasps were penalised at the breakdown, 45 metres out, and Carlisle’s nerveless kick put Worcester back in front.
Two minutes from time, Robinson’s penalty to touch set up a lineout on the Worcester 22. They won the ball, and Joe Simpson darted through the defence, only being stopped just short of the line. The forwards arrived in support; the ball was kept alive through several phases, before Richard Birkett went over near the posts. Robinson was then unable to take his conversion, as he was deemed to have taken a step forward, and then stopped. The Worcester defenders charged over the ball, and left themselves just over 30 seconds, to save the game. Unlike last week, Wasps made the restart safe, and controlled possession until the clock was at zero. Simpson banged the ball into the stand, and Wasps had clinched only their second win in eight visits to Sixways.
Wasps return to Adams Park next Sunday, the 6th of November, to take on Northampton Saints, in the Aviva Premiership.
Hugo Southwell; Tom Varndell, Chris Bell, Riki Flutey, Christian Wade; Nick Robinson, Joe Simpson;
Tim Payne, Steve Thompson, Ben Broster, Ross Filipo, Marco Wentzel, Richard Birkett, Jonathan Poff, John Hart (c)
Replacements: Rob Webber, Zak Taulafo, Jeremy Castex, Joe Burton, Matt Everard, Nic Berry, Ryan Davis, Chris Mayor
Errie Claasens: Marcel Garvey, Alex Grove, Dale Rasmussen (c), Miles Benjamin; Andy Goode, Shaun Perry; Matt Mullan, Chris Fortey, Tevita Taumoepoeau, James Percival, Craig Gillies, Neil Best, Jake Abbott, Chris Jones
Replacements: George Porter, Aleki Lutui, Oliver Tomasczyk, Adam Balding, Sam Betty, Ollie Frost, Joe Carlisle, Chris Pennell