David Lemi seals the win.
Gloucester came from 13 points down to level the scores, deep into the second half. The game was made safe by a superb individual try from man of the match David Lemi, though, and some strong Wasps defence inside the final ten minutes. The win means Wasps are again back in the top four, following London Irish’s heavy defeat at Leicester.
Wasps had an opportunity to take the lead in the second minute, when Gloucester conceded a penalty on their 10-metre line but Dave Walder’s kick from the centre of the field went wide.
Wasps dominated territory in the opening minutes, with James Honeyben’s brisk service giving the backs plenty of opportunity to move the ball and Paul Sackey regularly coming in from his wing to look for work.
The home side took a deserved lead in the twelfth minute, when Walder made no mistake with a well-struck penalty from 45 metres. Three minutes later the fly half was again on target, from almost the same position, following an offence at the breakdown.
Gloucester had a chance to narrow the gap, a minute later, but fly half Tim Taylor missed a straightforward kick, from 30 metres, to the right of the posts.
Dave Walder celebrates his superb try.
Wasps went back on the offensive and were rewarded with the first try of the game when Walder skipped over near the posts following a sustained attack which featured excellent work from the midfield and a powerful drive from the forwards. Walder converted his own try to make it 13-0 with 25 minutes gone.
Wasps were then forced into a substitution, when Warren Fury came on for Honeyben, who had injured an ankle. Taylor immediately opened Gloucester’s account with a penalty, after Wasps took a man out off the ball following a lineout 30 metres out.
With seven minutes of the half left another Walder penalty restored the home side’s 13-point advantage. Two minutes from the break a Wasps offside gave Taylor another penalty chance which he landed from 40 metres out. In the final minute of the half, Wasps suffered a further blow, when Fury was shown a yellow card for over-vigorous use of the boot while trying to free the ball from a ruck.
With Fury in the bin, David Lemi moved in to scrum half at the start of the second half. He was immediately in the action, throwing a huge dummy to dart into the Gloucester 22, and setting up a drop goal attempt from Walder which was off target.
Gloucester began using their bench with their starting half backs, Andy Williams and Tim Taylor making way for the more experienced pairing of Rory Lawson and Nicky Robinson. Wasps though, were boosted by the return of Fury after ten minutes in which they’d had the better of play despite being a man down.
Ben Jacobs on the charge.
Gloucester posed their first serious threat of the half, when Gareth Delve bust away from a wheeled scrum, to make thirty metres down the left. He then chipped ahead and Mark Van Gisbergen just won the race to the touchdown near the left corner.
Gloucester finally found their way through the home defence, when Mike Tindall went through a big gap in midfield and rounded Van Gisbergen to cross for a fine try near the posts. Robinson’s kick narrowed the gap to three points with 13 minutes of the half gone.
Ben Jacobs was then replaced by Dom Waldouck, just after Robinson’s massive clearance from just outside his 22, went dead at the other end of the field.
After Van Gisbergen was taken out late by Nick Wood, Walder had a long penalty attempt, but his kick fell wide and short. Van Gisbergen was then replaced by Danny Cipriani with 21 minutes left. Gloucester immediately levelled the scores, with a 45-metre penalty.
On 64 minutes, Gloucester’s Akapusi Qera was sent to the sin bin for tackling a man without the ball, after Wasps had taken a quick penalty inside the visitors’ 22. Waldouck was stopped just short of the line, but the referee had been playing advantage and this time Walder went for the posts with a simple kick, to make it 19-16.
Wasps were immediately penalised for crossing, when Paul Sackey tried to cut infield, a few metres inside his own half. Robinson’s long penalty attempt was narrowly wide. John Hart was then replaced by Hugo Ellis
With only one score in it, it was anybody’s game, but Wasps landed a crucial blow on 71 minutes, with a glorious try from David Lemi. Walder’s pass found the winger 40 metres out near the touchline. He accelerated away and beat two defenders to dive over for a magnificent score in the corner, which Walder was unable to convert.
Gloucester came to within bonus point range with a penalty from Robinson, five minutes from time. With two minutes left, Walder had a chance to make the game safe but he missed a penalty from near the touchline, just inside the Gloucester 22.
Inside the final minute, Wasps conceded a penalty on the Gloucester 22. The visitors took it quickly, and James Simpson-Daniel burst away down the right wing. He made his way up to the Wasps 22 but Cipriani brought off a try-saving tackle. With the clock at zero, Gloucester kept the ball alive, but they conceded a penaltyand Wasps’ kick to touch ended the game.
Wasps’ next Premiership game is at Sale on Friday the 19th March. The following Saturday they visit Northampton Saints KO 5.30pm with the next home game on Sunday, 4th April, against London Irish at an earlier time of 1.30pm. Book tickets now for this vital clash 0844 225 2990 or click here.