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London Wasps suffered a heavy 21-62 defeat to the Investec Stormers on Sunday afternoon in the Universal Challenge Cup match played at the Causeway Stadium. The South African Super 12 team were simply too strong for a Wasps side that saw several of its big guns involved in the internationals or rested. The Stormers scored ten tries to Wasps’ three with Springbok No.8, Joe Van Niekerk, winning the Man of the Match.
Wasps started well when flyhalf Alex King crossed over for the first try of the game. He beat several defenders including his opposite number to round off a good move that was started from the forwards. Mark Van Gisbergen slotted the conversion and Wasps led 7-nil after a few minutes. It was the only time in the game that the home side would lead as several minutes later, the power and pace of the Stormers became evident.
20-minutes into the match Stormers centre, Maruis Joubert, latched on to a spilled ball and ran in his side’s first try. Chris Rossouw, brother of former Springbok and London Irish winger, Peter Rossouw, made sure of the conversion to level the scores.
Wasps lost winger Thom Evans moments later due to a foot injury. The youngster showed some good skill and Wasps fans will be hoping to see more of him in the future. England U21 international, James Wellwood replaced him.
The next five minutes saw the Stormers score tries from Breyton Paulse and Dawid Hendricks. Paulse’s try was rather special as the winger ran into space, chipped ahead, gathered the ball and went in under the posts. Rossouw slotted both conversions and with barely half an hour into the game, the Cape Town-based side had built up and 7-21 lead.
On 34-minutes, a good move from the Wasps backs allowed Wellwood to speed in for Wasps’ second try of the match. The winger beat the Stormers fullback, Werner Greef, to score his first try for the 1st XV. The conversion from Van Gisbergen made the score look a little more respectable at 14-21.
However, before the break, the visitors would cross the tryline twice more via Tonderai Chavhanga and Greef. Chavhanga, who is one of the fastest wingers in South Africa, showed a clean pair of heels to outstrip the Wasps defence and run in under the posts. Minutes later Greef crossed as well and with the conversion now being taken from Gaffie du Toit, it was the visitors who went in 14-33 up at the break.
The second half saw several replacements made from both sides but it was the Stormers who made the most of it, by running in another three tries before Wasps could even trouble the scoreboard. Van Niekerk was on the end of a rolling maul to score his side’s seventh try and when Hendricks and Greef added a second try each to their respective tallies, it was game over.
King, however, managed to score his second try on the hour mark, but it was of little consolation as the Stormers had already reached 50-points.
The Wasps youngsters battled on and credit must be given to the likes of Garth Chamberlain and Warren Fury for some outstanding work.
The Stormers finished off with tries from Gus Theron and Tiger Mangweni to round off what was an entertaining high scoring game of rugby. The final score finished 21-62.
London Wasps scorers:
Tries: King 2, Wellwood
Con: Van Gisbergen 2, King
Tries: Joubert, Paulse, Hendricks 2, Chavhanga, Greef 2, Van Niekerk, Theron, Mangweni,
Con: Roussouw 3, Du Toit 3