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Match Report

07 Oct 2000: Wasps v Swansea

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Match Report
Swansea's Badge Swansea 54
Wasps's Badge Wasps 28
Fixture Type: Heineken Cup Venue: St Helen's
Match Date: Sat 07 Oct 2000, Kick Off: 14:30
Referee: Joel Dume

Swansea 54 Wasps 28

Welsh internationals Arwel Thomas and Matthew Robinson ran riot as Swansea tore Wasps apart to inflict a Heineken Cup hammering on the hapless Londoners at St Helens.

Mercurial fly-half Thomas kicked 29 points including three second half drop-goals, while wing Robinson claimed a tournament record-equalling four tries.

Wasps, despite an heroic performance in adversity from England back row man Joe Worsley, were blown away by Swansea's dynamic duo.

Robinson collected his hat-trick before the interval, finishing off some brilliant approach work from Swansea skipper Scott Gibbs and his outstanding midfield colleague Mark Taylor.

Although Worsley scored two of Wasps' three tries, they were never in the game and gave themselves far too much to do with Swansea leading 31-13 at the break.

Wasps begin their European campaign with three successive away games, a challenging prospect for any side, but neither skipper Lawrence Dallaglio nor director of rugby Nigel Melville could have anticipated a rout on this scale, bring back memories of their 50-point eclipse by Newcastle in the Premiership two weeks ago.

Wasps came horribly unstuck on their last Heineken Cup trip to Wales, losing against Llanelli nine months ago and sacrificing any chance of a quarter-final home tie and Swansea seemed to thrive on being aware of Wasps' fallibility, tearing into them with an unbelievable degree of commitment and determination.

While Robinson claimed the try-scoring honours, it was Thomas' all-round game that really stung Wasps.

At times during the second half he seemed to have the visitors in a trance, toying with them during an eight minute spell when he slotted that drop-goal hat-trick. Only one of his nine goal kicks failed to find the target, and he rounded off the afternoon with a flourish, converting Gibbs' fifth and final Swansea try from the touch line.

Swansea were six points up inside 10 minutes, but Wasps scored from their first dangerous attack, the impressive Worsley displaying all his pace and power to burst through Swansea's defenders.

Kenny Logan converted for a narrow lead, and at that stage there was nothing to suggest what a spectacular exhibition Swansea were reserving for a vociferous home crowd.

Robinson opened his account on 20 minutes after scrum-half Rhodri Jones cleverly switched the direction of attack, and Swansea were suddenly in over-drive as Thomas converted and then booted another penalty.

It was now all hands on deck for the Wasps defence as Swansea attacked from all angles, and that spirit of adventure was underlined 12 minutes before the break when Taylor broke magnificently from inside his own half, Gibbs acted as the link man and Robinson did the rest.

Swansea still had not finished though, and in first half injury time, a Wasps defensive blunder was punished and the Swansea faithful were in raptures.

Robinson required less than three minutes of the second period to post try number four, a touch down which put him level with a handful of other players to claim four tries in a Heineken Cup match.

Wasps were now reduced to a role of bit-part players, and the closing 20 minutes belonged to Thomas. Although Dallaglio's shell-shocked team conjured late conciliation tries for Worsley and Josh Lewsey, nothing could steal Swansea's thunder and Gibbs duly brought up the half century one minute from time.

Swansea face French champions Stade Francais at home next Saturday, when another win would leave them handily placed in the quarter-final race from pool two.

Wasps have got to regroup for the trip to Italians L'Aquila, but before then can expect a hard week's work on the training field.

Melville admitted that it was a case of going back to the drawing board after seeing his side steamrollered at St Helens.

"I am very disappointed - we didn't hold on to any ball, and it is back to the drawing board," Melville said. "We just didn't play, and if that happens then you will get beaten. There are no excuses, we just turned over too much ball and gave away too much possession.

"At the moment, we are blowing hot and cold but all credit to Swansea, they played very well today."

SWANSEA: (31) 54

Tries: Gibbs, M. Robinson 4.
Cons: A. Thomas 4.
Pens: A. Thomas 4.
Drop Goals: A. Thomas 3.
Swansea: K. Morgan, Payne, Taylor, Gibbs, M. Robinson, A. Thomas, R. Jones, Morris, G. Jenkins, B. Evans, Maullin, Moore, Lewis, Charvis, H. Jenkins.
Reps: Martens, C. Rees, Weatherley, Wells, Anthony, Griffiths, D. Thomas.

WASPS: (13) 28

Tries: Lewsey, Worsley 2.
Cons: Logan 2.
Pens: Logan 3.
Wasps: Lewsey, Roiser, Denney, Henderson, Logan, King, Wood, Molloy, Leota, Green, Reed, Shaw, Worsley, Volley, Dallaglio.
Reps: Page, Waters, Leek, Beardshaw, Birkett, Macer, Le Chevalier.

Att: 6,000
Ref: J Bume (France)