Serge Betsen 1
All the points came from the boot of Dave Walder, and the result means victory at home over Roma in January will ensure a place in the last eight. For the second week running, the Wasps defence proved impregnable for the French side, who had their chances, but seldom looked like finding their way to the line.
A Dave Walder penalty gave Wasps the lead in the fourth minute, after Bayonne were caught offside, 35 metres out. Four minutes later, Garcia had the chance to level the scores after an offence at the breakdown, five metres inside the Wasps half, but his kick went wide of the posts.
It was then the turn of the home side to concede a penalty at the breakdown, near the left touchline, and just inside their ten metres line, but Walder’s long-range kick drifted wide.
The first flowing backs move of the game, after 12 minutes, saw David Lemi set free down the left and he made 20 metres before being tackled. When the ball was recycled, Joe Simpson darted through a gap to take play into the 22, and Wasps were awarded a scrum on the home 22. They won quick ball and moved the ball out to the right, but the position was lost when they were penalised after Ben Jacobs was stopped by a crunching tackle in midfield.
Joe Simpson 2
Another penalty, on halfway, gave Bayonne the chance to establish a foothold in Wasps territory and they enjoyed several minutes of possession, but resolute defence forced them back until Craig Gower’s long drop at goal landed well short of the posts. Wasps finally found their way back into the Bayonne half, after the home pack were penalised at a scrum on the 22. Walder’s penalty found touch on the ten metre line and quick lineout ball gave Paul Sackey the chance to enter the line from the blindside wing, in a move which then saw Simon Shaw make ground down the left. Bayonne were then penalised and Walder landed a magnificent 50-metre kick from near the touchline, stretching the lead to 6-0 with 21 minutes gone.
Wasps were gifted another good attacking position, when a long clearance kick from Bayonne rolled dead and play was taken back to the home side’s 10-metre line. From the scrum, Walder broke down the blind side, but the ball was lost in contact and Bayonne launched a counterattack, in which Rob Webber put in a crunching tackle to bring a huge cheer from the travelling support. Moments later, another Bayonne attack was stopped by a powerful forward surge which earned Wasps the put-in at the scrum. From it, Joe Simpson broke wide and raced through a gap to make 40 metres. As he reached the 22, with support on both sides, a Bayonne hand ripped the ball from him and the best tryscoring opportunity of the evening was foiled.
A fine move from a stolen Bayonne lineout created another excellent position, after Betsen snatched the loose ball to send John Hart thundering into the Bayonne 22. The ball was recycled quickly, and Walder attempted a little chip behind the defence, but fullback Peyras was in position to gather safely and clear to touch.
Simon Shaw 3
A fine chase and chargedown by Simpson, after his own kick ahead, seemed to have set up another good position for Wasps, but the referee ruled that Rob Webber had played the ball in an offside position.
In the third minute of added time, Bayonne set up their best position of the game, following a powerful driving maul which ended in a penalty and a yellow card for Betsen. Bayonne chose to take a scrum, rather than go for the posts and the alarm bells rang, as they created space on the left but Paul Sackey did well to get back and clear Gower’s rolling kick. The halftime whistle went with Wasps protecting a narrow, but deserved, lead. There had been few genuine opportunities for either side, but Wasps had looked the more likely to find a way through while their typically rugged defence had looked as solid as ever. Encouragingly, the scrum had looked strong.
Wasps came close to a try, after four minutes of the second half, after Mark Gisbergen fielded a high kick and launched a counterattack. A quick exchange of passes sent George Skivington charging downfield. He reached the 22, but there was no one in close support, and his long pass out towards Lemi failed to reach its target.
With Betsen about to return from the sin bin, Bayonne were awarded a penalty just inside their own half. Craig Gower went for goal, but his kick was well short and wide.
Dave Walder 4
Dave Walder then stretched the defence as he chipped over the backs and hacked downfield, before putting pressure on Peyras, in the shadow of his own posts, but the fullback did well to gather and clear to touch. Wasps were then again reduced to 14 men, as Skivington was shown the second yellow card of the evening.
Bayonne took immediate advantage of their numerical superiority with a driving mail which took play up towards the 22, but the defence forced a handling error and Simpson was able to clear downfield.
Bayonne were now beginning to show more attacking threat, and another controlled drive from the forwards gave Gower the position from which to send a kick towards the corner, but it went just too far for the chasing Inigo.
Walder then showed his skilful footwork, with a jinking run through the middle of the defence, but his long pass to Paul Sackey failed to go to hand, with the line beckoning. Wasps were then restored to full strength when Richard Birkett came on for Skivington, after his ten minutes in the bin had passed.
Wasps immediately conceded a penalty, when Lemi was isolated and failed to release the ball. Garcia made no mistake with a 45-metre kick, to narrow the gap to 6-3, with 14 minutes of normal time to play. A scrummage offence then gave Walder the chance to restore the six-point advantage, from 45 metres, but his kick went narrowly wide. A minute later, after a fine run by Sackey, the flyhalf landed a drop goal from 35 metres. Sadly, Wasps were then forced into another replacement, after Richard Birkett limped off. Will Matthews took his place, with John Hart moving into the second row.
Ben Broster 5
A Bayonne offence at a scrum on their ten-metres line, gave Walder another penalty chance and he made no mistake, to crucially put Wasps two scores ahead with 76 minutes of normal time gone. With Joe Ward and Gabriel Bocca on, in place of Rob Webber and Ben Broster, Wasps safely negotiated the closing minutes and the game ended with MOTM Joe Simpson’s kick to touch, to register a fine win, to complete the double over the Basque side.
Wasps are back in action on Sunday December the 27th, when they face Harlequins in the Guinness Premiership at Twickenham. The following Sunday, they return to Adams Park, when the visitors will be Newcastle Falcons with a later kick off 4.30pm. Tickets are on sale now call 0844 225 2990 or book online here.