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Match Report

08 Jan 2006: Wasps v Newcastle Falcons

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Match Report
Falcons's Badge Wasps 21
Wasps's Badge Wasps 6
Fixture Type: Guinness Premiership Venue: Adams Park
Match Date: Sun 08 Jan 2006, Kick Off: 15:00
Referee: Wayne Barnes Touch Judge: David Broadwell
TV Match Official: John Burtenshaw Touch Judge: Paul Emerson

Falcons fall prey to pragmatic Wasps

London Wasps secured a wintry win against Newcastle Falcons at the Causeway Stadium this afternoon.

Sackey dives over for his first try after 3 minutes

In cold and wet conditions that limited the ambition of both side, Wasps nevertheless combined to touch down three times and keep Newcastle comfortably at arms length throughout the game.

Falcons kicked off, but Wasps were first on the scoreboard, Paul Sackey sliding into the corner after just 3 minutes. The score came from Wasps first handling move of the game, Shaw and Dallaglio both in the line to move the ball wide via Van Gisbergen for Sackey to put on the burners and sneak in, despite a last ditch tackle from wing Ollie Phillips in the corner.

Newcastle were able to rise to the early challenge though, after Wasps conceded turnovers to hand the Falcons possession, and then a penalty on half way in the 9th minute. Burke's attempt was close though the ball drifted wide, but he made no mistake with his next attempt, from 5 yards further in, just a minute later to bring his team back to 5-3.

I thought we played a perfect game for the conditions. - McGeechan

With the conditions unremitting, Wasps were employing more of a kicking than a handling game as the game entered the second quarter though keeping a weather eye for the break, Reddan looking sharp and making yards by darting through gaps.

Falcons kept their attack narrow, making extensive use of running forwards and with Colin Charvis at the heart of the action in attack and defence.It was in this manner that the visitors put together their first dangerous attack on the half hour, winning a penalty for a 5 metre line out and drive. Brave tackling from Wasps kept the line intact and Burke chose to kick his next penalty opportunity from short range, to take his side 6-5 ahead in the 33rd minute.

Wasps hit back with a driving attack of their own form the restart, culminating in a first penalty of the day for the home team. Mark Van Gisbergen's attempt from wide bounced off the post, though Wasps regained possession from the Falcons clearance to pressure the line again and win a second penalty for Van Gisbergen, in front of the posts this time, to put his side 8-6 ahead as the game reached half time.

Both team made substitutions at the break, McCarthy replacing for Finegan for the visitors, whilst for Wasps, prop Justin Va'a made his home debut replacing Peter Bracken.

Wasps started the second half as they had the first, with a try for Paul Sackey in the corner. A strong forwards drive gave Wasps their first bite at a try, and though Newcastle cleared to half way, Wasps countered for Van Gisbergen to find space running off Staunton's shoulder, the quick recycle giving Wasps the overlap and Sackey the space to slide over in the corner, though again Van Gisbergen missed the difficult conversion from the touchline.

George Skivington fends off Colin Charvis

Wasps continued to go forward from the restart, forwards Dallaglio and George Skivington punching holes in the Falcons defence and Staunton keeping play flowing until Falcons conceded a penalty centre field, which the fly half converted in the 49th minute for a 16-6 lead.

However, as the game progressed into the final quarter, neither side were able to achieve fluency as the wet and slippery conditions prevailed.

Replacement lock Martin Purdy continued his run of awful luck with injuries, as in the 70th minute he was forced to leave the pitch with another suspected fracture to his arm, in just his second game back after recovering from a fracture to the same arm before Christmas.

The gloom lifted a little in injury time, as replacement scrumhalf Matt Dawson conjured the final score of the game. Breaking blind from a rolling maul, he sprinted 50 metres before combining in a neat one two with King to elude winger Mathew Tait and slide over from the final score. King missed with a snap drop conversion leaving the score at full-time 21-6.

Director of Rugby Ian McGeechan said, 'I was very pleased with the way we played today. These were difficult conditions, and they can become a leveller leaving the result a lottery, but it was not so. I thought we played a perfect game for the conditions. To have scored 3 tries reflects the level of our performance.

'The pack played well, and at the moment we're going well up front. Also, Eoin Reddan and Jeremy Staunton have been given opportunities at half back and have played well, giving us genuine options at half back and good competition for Matt and Alex.'

Centre Josh Lewsey was also pleased with the performance, saying, 'The conditions today were probably as bad as you are going to get in the professional game, but we put in a professional performance. I think if you had offered us that result before the game, we would have taken it.'

Wasps Scorers
Tries: Sackey (2), Dawson
Pen: Van Gisbergen (1), Staunton (1)

Newcastle Falcons Scorers
Pen: Burke (2)

Referee: Wayne Barnes
HT: 8-6
Attendance: 10,000
MOTM: Alistair McKenzie