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Match Report
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26 Dec 2008: London Wasps v Sale Sharks

Please use the buttons below to see more information on Sale Sharks and matches between Wasps and Sharks over the years.

Match Report
Sharks's Badge Sale Sharks 31
London Wasps's Badge London Wasps 3
Fixture Type: Guinness Premiership Venue: Edgeley Park
Match Date: Fri 26 Dec 2008, Kick Off: 15:00
Referee: Rob Debney Assistant Referee: Robin Goodliffe
TV Match Official: David Hudson Assistant Referee: Don Helme

Wasps stung at Edgeley Park

Boxing Day lost its buzz for Wasps as Sale Sharks secured a 31-3 victory over the Londoners at Edgeley Park

Riki Flutey returned for Wasps but victory was well out of reach for the visitors

Riki Flutey returned for Wasps but victory was well out of reach for the visitors

It wasn’t the end to the year that London Wasps were looking, but Sharks, their hosts for this festive clash and last fixture of 2008, took full advantage of the Boxing Day sales with a bonus point win at Edgeley Park.

With a very different starting line up to that that had been seen with victory over Saracens the week before, Ian McGeechan was forced to rest a high volume of his international contingent as part of the Premierships’ international release agreement which forces clubs to rest their England players for one game in Rounds 9-11 of the league.

McGeechan and co therefore found themselves without the services of Danny Cipriani, Paul Sackey, Phil Vickery and James Haskell as well as Tom Rees, Tom Palmer and Dominic Waldouck all ruled out due to injury.

The late withdrawal of John Hart, and two further changes to the bench with Damien Varley ruled out due to illness and Rob Hoadley with an injury to his hand, saw young gun Hugo Ellis come in to wear the number 8 jersey and Rob Webber and new signing Mossy Lawler join the replacements.

Josh Lewsey on the attack

Josh Lewsey on the attack

The ten enforced changes would no doubt see added pressure placed upon the men in black and gold as they entered into this fixture eager to maintain their winning momentum, which had prior to this fixture seen them record victories over Newcastle, Edinburgh home and away and Saracens.

There was to be no buzz in Wasps Boxing Day however as Sharks chalked up four tries – two from Argentinian back rower and Captain Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe and one a piece for England duo Charlie Hodgson and birthday boy Mark Cueto - as Wasps could only muster a solitary Dave Walder penalty.

The Sharks were in predatory form, twice pouncing on Wasps errors to erase memories of their last-gasp defeat to Bath last weekend and get their Guinness Premiership title hopes firmly back on track.

Cueto was looking dangerous after eight minutes, fielding the ball on his own 22 before chipping the Wasps line and collecting only to miss the pass outside to recently departed Wasp, David Doherty.

But it was not long before Sale made their pressure tell. Dean Schofield, on the loop, drew defenders before releasing to Neil Briggs who found Fernandez Lobbe to touchdown.

Wasps' Tom French, Tom Voyce and Jeremy Staunton

Wasps' Tom French, Tom Voyce and Jeremy Staunton

They did not have to wait long for the second score as Cueto cleared to the 10-metre line and, with the ball bobbling towards touch, Wasps academy winger Chris Bishay jumped over it - not realising Doherty was bearing down on him.

Doherty collected and passed inside to Cueto who showed he still has the pace of old to run in under the sticks before Walder notched Wasps' only points of the afternoon.

Richard Wigglesworth's pass then bounced off Joe Worsley, allowing quick-thinking Charlie Hodgson to collect the ball and dart in under the posts.

Hodgson's penalty extended Sale's lead 10 minutes into the second half as they continued to dominate, forcing Wasps to commit men at breakdown and engineering space for their backs to operate.

Sale rang the changes, bringing on Carl Fearns and Andrew Sheridan to shore up the pack, and Dwayne Peel replaced the impressive Richard Wigglesworth at scrum-half.

Wasps tried to muster some resistance, running the ball from deep and recycling it quickly when possible but it was Sale who looked more likely to get the next score.

Simon Shaw

Simon Shaw

Although Wasps found no way back into the game they did salvage some pride by shoring up their defence to frustrate Sale for long periods. However they could not man the barricades long enough to deny Sale the bonus point try which came in the 74th minute when Fernandez Lobbe took a quick tapped penalty and ploughed over to complete the win.