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<1>London Wasps remain second in the table, on try difference, from Leicester after a physical encounter at the Causeway Stadium that saw the home forwards tested and triumphant in their 34-20 victory over Worcester today.
The visitors played to their strengths, kicking for territory and driving from the set piece, but in the Wasps pack they met their match. On more than one occasion Wasps found themselves defending at a five metre line-out, and more than once drove the opposition back and cleared their lines. And despite trailing by three at half time, Wasps showed their pedigree from one to fifteen in the second half to secure the bonus point and send the Midlanders home in disappointment.
Wasps drew first blood, hooker Raphael Ibanez touching down when Wasps drove over after moving the ball wide in only the second minute. Worcester countered with just six minutes on the clock, Sanderson the scoring after the Worcester pack also drove over a wide move.
The next quarter saw the Wasps pack showed grit and organisation to repel several concerted Worcester drives from close quarters, whilst the Wasps backs gathered Shane Drahm's probing territorial kicks and ran them back to create some nerve wracking moments rather than hand Worcester the line out opportunity.
Eventually the pressure paid dividends for the visitors however, Drahm kicking a penalty to take the lead on 29 minutes.
Both sides had opportunities in the final ten minutes of the half. Drahm's beautiful long pass to Jonny Hylton put the winger in space, but he was hauled down short on 40 minutes, whilst Matt Dawson's quick tap looked to have put Voyce away into injury time, but the Wasps flyer was apparently challenged off the ball by Hylton, thought the referee adjudged a knock on to the displeasure of the home fans.
Having converted Wasps' try, full back Mark Van Gisbergen's penalty was the last action of the first half, A penalty nearly on the half way, but centre field, was the kiwi's passport to the record books. Had he kicked it, Van Gisbergen would have surpassed Jonny Wilkinson's streak of 27 consecutive kicks at goal, but the full back scuffed the shot badly, and he had to settle for merely equalling the record.
Wasps began the second half with a score. Abbott charged down Shane Drahm's kick, and though Abbott lost the race to the ball as it bounced to within 5 metres of the try line, Hylton misjudged his hack to touch, Abbott scooped the bobbling ball and fed the oncoming Voyce who crossed the line unopposed for Wasps second of the day.
Two Van Gisbergen penalties followed, and though Drahm kept Worcester in touch with a penalty of his own, Wasps were looking the more confident team at 20-13 ahead on the hour.
<2r>With 60 minutes gone, Worcester conceded a penalty from a scrum, and Matt Dawson took the quick tap. Alex King's pass found Joe Worsley flat and at pace, the England back row man breaking the line and fending off two tacklers to touch down under the posts and stretch Wasps lead, Van Gisbergen making it 27-13.
Worcester were not lying down however, and manoeuvred themselves into another 5 metre line-out attacking position. Again the line out drive came on, and again Wasps defended with determination and cohesion, Richard Birkett eventually turning over ball for Wasp to clear their lines.
Le Roux scored Worcester second, in the 78th minute, after Wasps players appeared to stop as the ball was hacked on. Le Roux however, did not, and ran through from his own half to close the gap to 27-20 with two minutes remaining.
It was Wasps' forwards who were to have the last laugh however, taking on the Warriors at their own game for prop Tim Payne to score from a fine driving move in injury time to give Wasps the bonus point and secure second pace in the Premiership.
After the game, Director of Rugby Ian McGeechan was pleased with his teams' performance, particularly that of the forward pack.
"Worcester don't disguise the way they are going to play, and to compete with them you have to match that," he said after the game. "We are a very effective pack and it was important to make that statement today.
We came out here this afternoon wanting to play some rugby. They made it hard for us for forty minutes, but we kept to our task, to play some rugby. That's what the supporters want to see us do, and that's what we try to deliver."
Man of the Match: Matt Dawson