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Wasps trailed 12-6 at the break, but a storming second half saw them take the spoils with Tom Varndell’s try in the final move of the game adding a bonus point to provide the icing on the cake.
After a promising start, featuring a good counterattack, when Hugo Southwell fielded a long kick, Wasps won a penalty, just inside the Welsh half. Elliot Daly stepped up, to go for the posts, but his kick fell well short.
After several minutes inside their own half, Welsh were awarded a free kick from a lineout, just inside their own half. They took it quickly, and Jonathan Mills made several metres, before feeding Franck Montanella, who sent Rob Lewis away. The attack made a good 30 metres, before Welsh knocked on, and possession was turned over.
Welsh won a good position, after Joe Simpson was adjudged to have knocked on, when gathering a kick, just outside his 22. The ball appeared to have come off his elbow, but the scrum went down , and Wasps were penalised. Gordon Ross landed the kick, to give the home side the lead, after 11 minutes.
Wasps immediately responded, when Elliot Daly gathered a kick ahead, just outside the 22. He came infield, and fed Nick Robinson, who spotted a gap. He made30 metres, before firing a long pass out to Tom Varndell, 40 metres out. He appeared to be heading for a try, but the defence managed to get across and stop him, on the 22. Possession was turned over, Welsh cleared downfield, and Wasps immediately conceded a penalty, in almost the same position from which Ross had given Welsh the lead. He was on target again, to stretch the lead to six points.
Wasps opened their account, three minutes later, following a good run by Joe Launchbury, from a lineout, just inside the Welsh 22. Welsh were penalised, and Nick Robinson landed the penalty.
Four minutes later, Wasps won a lineout, just outside the Welsh 22. Good work by Joe Launchbury and Jonathan Poff took play deep into the 22, and yielded a penalty, a few metres in from the left touchline.
From the restart a Wasps pass was knocked on, the referee played advantage, Welsh drove towards the line and Wasps conceded a penalty, which Gordon Ross kicked to put his side back in front.
Wasps came straight back, and a good lineout, just inside the 22, produced a penalty. This time, Robinson’s kick went just wide.
An excellent charge down by Phil Swainston gave Wasps a good attacking position, just outside the Welsh 22. They controlled the ball well, through a series of phases, before Welsh were penalised, 15 metres in from the right touchline. Sadly, Nick Robinson again sent his kick wide.
Three minutes from halftime, Wasps were penalised at a re-set scrum on their 22, just to the left of the posts, and Ross’s fourth successful kick gave his side a 12-6 lead. That’s how it stayed until halftime - a deeply frustrating score-line for Wasps, who had come closest to scoring a try, but had failed to make the most of their chances, and had given away too many penalties in kickable positions.
Wasps made one change at the start of the second half, with Chris Mayor replacing Andrea Masi.
They had the first chance of the second half, when they won a turnover and quickly moved the ball out to the right, where they had a clear overlap, but Chris Bell’s pass went through Elliot Daly’s hands. He managed to gather, and kicked downfield, finding touch just outside the 22. Welsh were penalised at the lineout, and Robinson kept his nerve, to narrow the gap to 12-9.
Two minutes later, Wasps went ahead with one of the tries of season from Joe Simpson. Wasps won a lineout on halfway, Simpson darted through a gap and raced downfield, before veering infield and weaving past a series of defenders, before powering through two tackles to cross for a sensational score near the right corner. The difficult conversion went just to the right of the posts.
Wasps immediately went further ahead when Elliot Daly thumped over a trademark monster, from several metres inside his own half.
Wasps seemed certain to stretch their lead, when Joe Simpson picked up a loose ball, 15 metres inside his half and raced away down the left. He had Tom Varndell outside him, but tried a little chip ahead as the covering defence arrived and possession was lost.
Sam Jones came on for Jonathan Poff, and Welsh missed a chance to narrow the gap, when he sent a 40 metre penalty wide of the posts. Stephen Jones then came on for Nick Robinson, with just over 20 minutes left.
Welsh had another kickable penalty, but chose to kick for the corner. They won the lineout and set up a drive but excellent defence by the Wasps pack forced a turnover.
Welsh were now beginning to get rattled and conceded a couple of freekicks for dissent. It was to cost them dear, as an extra ten metres gave Elliot Daly the chance to find an excellent touch near the corner. Wasps won the lineou and patiently built up the pressure inside the 22, before Joe Simpson moved the ball out to the right, and Daly managed to find his way over in the corner. Stephen Jones just missed the conversion, but Wasps now led 22-12, with under 15 minutes to go.
Eight minutes from time, Welsh pressure won them a penalty, near the right corner. Ross went for the posts, and his kick brought his side to within seven points.
Daly then produced a fine piece of defensive play, to snuff out a Welsh threat, when he gathered Ross’s chip ahead, and cleared downfield.
With three minutes left, Wasps made the game safe with a superb try by replacement prop Will Taylor. The move began when Billy Vunipola hacked a loose ball downfield, before gathering and charging towards the corner. Wonderful interplay involving Marco Wentzel and Ashley Johnson kept the move going and Taylor crashed over to finish it off. Jones added the conversion, and Wasps were now out of sight.
Welsh threw everything into a last-ditch effort to snatch a bonus point, but they conceded a penalty, Wasps moved the ball quickly, Elliot Daly made a half-break before throwing out a long basketball-style pass to Tom Varndell, who went over in the corner for his tenth try of the season, giving Wasps a bonus point to set the seal on their first away win in 14 months
Wasps start 2013 at Adams Park, on Sunday, January the 6th, when Bath are the visitors in the Aviva Premiership.
London Wasps team
15. Hugo Southwell, 14. Tom Varndell, 13. Andrea Masi, 12. Chris Bell, 11. Elliot Daly, 10. Nick Robinson, 9. Joe Simpson, 1. Zak Taulafo, 2. Rhys Thomas, 3. Phil Swainston, 4. Joe Launchbury, 5. James Cannon, 6. Ashley Johnson, 7. Jonathan Poff, 8. Billy Vunipola
16. Tom Lindsay, 17. Tim Payne, 18. Will Taylor, 19. Marco Wentzel, 20. Sam Jones, 21. Charlie Davies, 22. Stephen Jones, 23. Chris Mayor
London Welsh team
15. Tom Arscott, 14. Dan Caprice, 13. Seb Jewell, 12. Sonny Parker*, 11. Nick Scott, 10. Gordon Ross*, 9. Rob Lewis, 1. Frank Montanella*, 2. Neil Briggs, 3. James Tideswell, 4. Jonathon Mills ©, 5. Kirill Kulemin*, 6. Ed Jackson, 7. Mike Denbee, 8. Alfie To'oala*.
16. Gareth Evans, 17. Tom Bristow, 18. Greg Bateman, 19. Matt Corker, 20. Adam
Balding, 21. Nick Runciman, 22. Alex Davies, 23. Lewis James.