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Wasps rounded off their Amlin Challenge Cup pool programme with a comfortable 10 try victory over Viadana and can now look forward to a home Quarter Final against Gloucester in April.
The game was effectively over by halftime, with Wasps 31-5 ahead, but the intensity dipped in the second half. Viadana scored two tries, before Wasps re-grouped, and a strong last quarter produced five more tries.
Barely two minutes had gone, when Wasps went ahead. Following a penalty kick to the corner, Sam Jones won the lineout, the forwards put in a powerful drive, and Ashley Johnson applied the finishing touch. Joe Carlisle added the conversion.
The second try came on 11 minutes, again following a lineout, this time midway inside the Viadana half. Andrew Suniula put in a powerful angled run, Guy Thompson appeared in support, before the ball was moved out to the left. Elliot Daly joined the line at speed, and cut through the defence to go over in the corner. Carlisle landed a magnificent touchline conversion.
Viadana responded immediately, with a well-worked try of their own. Full-back Marco Gennari joined the line to create an overlap for right-winger Nicola Sintich, who went over in the corner. Flyhalf Juan Pablo Sanchez missed the conversion.
Within a minute, Elliot Daly crossed for his second try, finishing a move he’d started deep inside his own half. He gathered a high kick, then accelerated out to the right, before releasing a deft offload to Josh Bassett. The winger made ground, before drawing the final defender and passing infield to Daly, who had a clear run to the line, from ten metres. Carlisle’s conversion made the score 21-5, with 16 minutes gone.
The bonus point came on 25 minutes, when Daly completed his hat-trick. Wasps stole a lineout on halfway, the ball was moved quickly down the line and Tom Varndell was sent clear down the left. As he approached the 22, he chipped ahead, and the ball bounced into the arms of Daly, who went over near the corner. Carlisle was unable to add the extra points.
Viadana came close to a second try, when they did well to control ball from a retreating scrum, just outside the Wasps 22. They moved the ball quickly out to the left and there appeared to be an overlap, but a pass aimed at Sintich struck the retreating Tom Varndell and Wasps were able to gather the loose ball and clear to safety.
Moments later, Varndell was at the end of another well-constructed move, gathering Daly’s pass to dive over in the corner for his third try in three Challenge Cup matches. Carlisle’s attempted conversion was just off target, but Wasps were now 31-5 with six minutes of the half remaining.
They threatened a sixth try, when Daly joined the line at speed, following a scrum in midfield. His pace took him through a gap and into the 22, but Andrew Suniula was unable to hang on to his inside pass. Halftime came, with Wasps in complete control and looking well on the way to another big scoreline.
A minute into the second half, Wasps came close to a seventh try, following a 15-metre drive from a lineout, which took play up to the Viadana line. The ball was released to the backs, and Andrew Suniula almost forced his way over, before Guy Thompson’s attempted offload was intercepted, and Viadana were able to escape to safety.
The visitors then made a rare visit into the Wasps 22, after Elliot Daly was beaten by a wicked bounce, from a long kick downfield. An excellent chase secured the loose ball, which was moved infield, and the Wasps defence was penalised, in the shadow of the posts.
Viadana chose to take a scrum, but Wasps stole possession, and Charlie Davies sent Varndell racing away down the left. He handed off a defender, to put himself clear, but just clipped the touchline.
With the game apparently already in the bag, Wasps lost much of their precision and focus. They were guilty of a series of handling errors and penalties, as Viadana enjoyed several minutes of pressure and came agonisingly close to a try out wide on the right, following a series of drives for the line.
They were finally rewarded for their endeavours, when further pressure yielded an unconverted try for number 8 Mirko Monfrino in the right corner, with 62 minutes gone.
This stung Wasps out of their lethargy, and they finally opened their second half account, when Will Helu chased a kick ahead and gathered, to cross for a try. Carlisle’s conversion made the score 38-10, with a quarter of an hour to play.
A superb pass by Andy Goode then sent Tom Palmer charging down the middle of the field, in a move which ended with Esteban Lozada being held up over the line. Quick ball from the scrum gave Joe Simpson the chance to dart over for a try in the right corner, taking the score to 43-10.
Viadana came right back with a third try, after a well-placed chip by Andy Goode took a horrific bounce into the arms of a Viadana player, who charged into the Wasps 22, before sending scrum-half Pietro Travagli over, near the posts. Sanchez added the conversion, and the visitors were now in sight of a bonus point.
It was Wasps who scored next, after a flowing move which saw Josh Bassett coming across to the left and putting in an excellent run deep into the 22. The ball was recycled quickly and Taione Vea was sent charging through a gap in the defence to power his way over for a well-taken try. Carlisle’s conversion brought up the half-century.
It was Carlisle who added the ninth try in the last minute, after Josh Bassett sliced through the defence to send him over near the posts. Carlisle converted his own try with a drop kick. He then split the defence before sending Tom Varndell over in the left corner, with the clock at zero. He added another conversion and was named Man of the Match, at the final whistle.
Wasps are back in action next Saturday where they will face London Irish in the LV=Cup. Tickets are still available at http:..www.wasps.co.uk/tickets