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Match Report

18 Apr 2004: Wasps v Leeds Tykes

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Match Report
Tykes's Badge Yorkshire Carnegie 7
Wasps's Badge Wasps 11
Fixture Type: Zurich Premiership Venue: Headingley Carnegie
Match Date: Sun 18 Apr 2004, Kick Off: 14:30
Referee: Dave Pearson

Wasps secure win against Leeds

London Wasps secured a hard-fought 11-7 victory over the Leeds Tykes at Headingley on Sunday afternoon. After the highs of the emphatic wins against the Northampton Saints and in the Heineken Cup quarter-final, it was always going to be difficult to maintain that level of intensity, but Warren Gatland’s side dug deep and held on for the four points.

Leeds have never beaten Wasps, the closest game between the sides being a 27-all draw, and Wasps made sure that statistic was maintained. The side saw a number of the big guns rested as Lawrence Dallaglio, Simon Shaw, Rob Howley, Craig Dowd and Stuart Abbott all warmed the bench.

The first points of the game went to Wasps as Mark Van Gisbergen slotted two early penalties within the first 10 minutes. The Kiwi maintained his high level of accuracy with the boot and took his side into a 6-nil lead.

Gordon Ross had the opportunity to bring the home side back into the game, but some wayward kicking saw him miss two relatively easy penalties. The conditions were never good, as the rain played havoc with the footing and ball handling of the players. This meant that the ball was predominately kept amongst the forwards and taken upfield with driving mauls. In fact the score remained unchanged as the half-time whistle blew.


The second half saw Leeds come out with some extra fire in their bellies as they pushed on looking to disrupt the Wasps pack and secure more possession, something they were starved of in the first half. They had another opportunity for three points, as Wasps were caught offside but this time, new kicker, Duncan Hodge, missed the attempt and Leeds boss Phil Davis must have been cursing; knowing his side should have had the lead.

However, it didn’t take long before they did as the Yorkshire crowd watched their side push on for the first try of the match. It came from a driving maul with Colm Rigney on the end of it. Hodge made sure of the conversion and for the first time in the match, Leeds took the lead at 7-6.

On the hour mark, the news filtered down to the touchline that Bath had lost to Northampton and Gatland immediately threw on his big guns knowing a win was a must if Wasps were going to finish first in the league. Their impact was almost immediate as the fresh legs and experience paid off. Wasps camped on the Leeds tryline after some good interplay between the backs and, after three surges towards the whitewash, they finally got over from Trevor Leota. The big Samoan, who scored against Gloucester the previous week, found some space amongst the bodies and threw himself over. The conversion was missed but Wasps regained the lead and now led 11-7.

The final 10 minutes of the game saw both sides throw away numerous chances and Van Gisbergen even missed a penalty that would have killed the game off. In fact, Leeds sensed they could snatch something from this game and came close to doing so, but Wasps managed to hang on to battle out the win.

Gatland’s side got the 11-7 win and in doing so, closed the gap on Bath to just one point. Wasps cannot finish lower than second position in the league now.