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London Wasps played glorious open rugby to score seven tries at Loftus Road this afternoon, one more than they have amassed this season in all their other seven Zurich Premiership games put together. They demoralised Leeds Tykes, denying the visitors possession and forcing them to commit a hatful of errors.
The game, televised live on Sky Sports, started scrappily but Wasps began to dominate as early as the 8th minute when three sweeping movements, the ball passing through several pairs of hands each time, broke down when Phil Greening was guilty of ignoring a scoring overlap outside him. But another quick heel saw two passes and then a third which Shane Roiser took behind his head and clutching the ball to his neck, he went over.
Wasps supporters recognised the signs. In any of our earlier matches this season, the right wing would not have held that ball. Our luck had changed and Alex King kicked the simple conversion. Six minutes later &ndash and Leeds had barely laid hands on the ball in all that time &ndash as Martyn Wood lay at the bottom of a maul, Paul Sampson slipped into the scrum half position and broke cleverly. He was well tackled but with Martyn now back in his rightful position, he broke away as the forwards heeled, and made 25 yards before handing on to Fraser Waters to go over under the posts.
The score board was in for a busy afternoon and on 18 minutes it recorded 21-0 as another burst of passing saw Sampson scorch away and as despairing hands slowed him, Phil Greening popped up on his shoulder to join the try scorers. Then King kicked the first of four penalties, the Yorkshiremen were penalised for handling in the loose then conceded another ten yards for arguing, putting the kick well in range.
The pressure imposed on Leeds during this period did not let them into the game and when the Wasps forwards kept driving at them, yet another speedy heel saw Alex King lying deep ready to drop a perfect goal, and make it 27-0. At long last Wasps were able to play their wide and expansive game, the confidence missing all season due to their chronic series of injuries, had come flooding back.
When Leeds did manage to get some ball, they were tackled hard and harried into knocking-on or making rank bad passes which went to ground. Paul Volley at open side was giving their No 10 Daniel Parks a torrid time then Kenny Logan, also returning from injury came off his wing to join the party and ran in the first of two tries. With the score standing at 34-0, a well rehearsed move worked perfectly. From a tight scrum No 8 Mark Lock, having a tremendous game, fed the ball to Martyn Wood who threw a huge, flat pass to Alex King who had positioned himself between their two centres. He feinted right then tore through the gap, came the second then third phase and Mr Logan was over again.
Alex kept up his 100 per cent performance with the boot, as he would do all afternoon and be well rewarded with man-of-the-match accolade. He popped over a simple penalty for a high tackle on Roiser and half time was reached with 44-0 on the board. Soon after the re-start another penalty was notched then Leeds scored a try from a run of scrappy play and they scored again to take the score to 47-14. But a further penalty and two more converted tries &ndash from Stuart Abbott who replaced Mark Denney, and another splendid solo effort from Fraser Waters, finished off the scoring at 64-14. Leeds boss Phil Davies summed up the game, “We were not very good, not at all, but you’ve got to hand it to Wasps, they were just fantastic this afternoon.