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Match Report

22 Aug 2009: Wasps v Benetton Treviso

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Match Report
Wasps's Badge Wasps 38
Treviso's Badge Benetton Treviso 15
Fixture Type: Friendly Venue: Home
Match Date: Sat 22 Aug 2009, Kick Off: 16:00

Home return sees home victory!

Wasps made it two pre-seasons win out of two, with a comfortable victory over the Italian champions, in front of a short-sleeved crowd at a sun-soaked Adams Park.

Wasps ran in six tries to two, but the final score perhaps didn’t do the visitors justice, as they enjoyed long periods of pressure, and made sure that the home defence was given a thorough test. As it was, the crowd was treated to some entertaining rugby, with new signing and Man of the Match Tom Varndell running in two tries on his home debut.

Wasps got off to the best possible start, with a try after just 17 seconds, when skipper Serge Betsen charged down an attempted clearance kick, inside the Treviso 22. The flanker managed to gather the awkwardly bouncing ball to power his way over the line, but new signing Eoghan Hickey was unable to convert.

The visitors came straight back, after Tom Varndell was unable to gather the high, hanging restart. They applied the pressure for several minutes, severely testing the home defence, before scrumhalf Simon Piccone knocked on, as the ball squirted out of a scrum near the line, with the home pack being shunted backwards with wprrying ease.

Varndell then set the crowd roaring when he raced clear down the left, only for the referee to call him back, as Dom Waldouck’s pass had clearly gone several metres forwards.

Wasps made their attacking intentions clear, when they chose to run a penalty from within their 22. The forwards took play through a series of phases, before releasing the ball to the backs, but Waldouck could not gather a low pass, and Wasps were penalised from the ensuing scrum. Italian international Luke McLean landed the straightforward kick to make it 5-3, after 13 minutes.

Within a minute, Wasps had scored their second try, after a blindside break by James Honeyben, on the Treviso ten metres line. When the ball went loose, Varndell was on hand to gather, and burst away down the left. A combination of pace and power took him over, near the corner, and Hickey landed an excellent conversion to take the score to 12-3.

Academy winger Christian Wade then gave the crowd a glimpse of his blistering pace, when he came in to midfield, after Betsen had gathered an off-target lineout throw by the visitors.

After several minutes of further pressure from the visitors, it was against the run of play when Wasps added their third try, which resulted from a stray pass by Fraser Waters, near halfway. The loose ball was hacked clear, before bouncing nicely for Waldouck, who ran in from 20 metres, giving Hickey a simple kick, to stretch the lead to 19-3, after 23 minutes.

Treviso’s pressure was finally rewarded with a try, after 28 minutes, when Piccone broke from a scrum, before passing back inside to number 8 Dion Kingi, who crashed over near the posts. McLean added the extra points, making it 19-10. Skilful work from Dan Ward-Smith, who secured the restart, set up a promising position in the Treviso 22, but Wasps were penalised at the breakdown.

Excellent work by Wade then gave Varndell another chance to show his paces. The young winger gathered a dangerous high ball under pressure, and the ball was worked out to the former Tiger, who made 30 metres down the left, before the movement broke down.

Wasps then came close to a fourth try, after a weaving run by Hickey. He made his into the 22, before passing to Waldouck, but the centre was under severe pressure, and could not hang on to the ball, with Wade clear on the right.

With the game approaching injury time, Wasps crossed for a fourth try, when Marty Veale went over in the corner, to end a movement which had been started by a fine break from Honeyben. Hickey’s magnificent touchline conversion made the halftime score 26-10.

Wasps made wholesale changes for the second half, with eleven replacements coming on. With Betsen one of those going off, Rob Webber, replacing Tom Lindsay, took over the captaincy. The home side began the half with a flowing move which took play from deep inside their 22 to the other end of the field, before possession was lost.

Treviso continued to show some good touches, and came close to a second try, when winger Tommaso Benvenuti couldn’t quite hang on to McLean’s precise kick, with the line beckoning.

Wasps eventually eased the pressure, thanks to another fine break from Hickey, who combined well with John Hart and Warren Fury to take play back towards halfway.

With fifteen minutes of the half gone, Wasps went further ahead, when Varndell grabbed his second try of the game. He’d set up the chance with a blistering midfield burst , which ended just short of the line. When the ball was recycled quickly, he was in position to take a pass and force his way. Hickey’s conversion stretched the score to 33-10.

Seven minutes later, it was Mark Odejobi who raced clear for a try, after a counter-attacking move which started deep inside the Wasps half. Hickey was unable to convert, from the touchline. With the score now at 38-10, and the temperature still uncomfortably high for the players, the officials called a welcome drinks break.

When play resumed, another daring counterattack sent Odejobi away again, despite a suspiciously forward pass, but the ball was intercepted, and Treviso came back to score their second try, when Michele Rizzo finished off a powerful forward drive. McLean’s conversion attempt was off target.

They threatened a third try, when a Wasps attack broke down and McLean hacked the loose ball towards the line, but Wade gathered the bouncing ball, in the shadow of the posts, before setting off on a sizzling 40-metre burst. The winger then came close to a try of his own, after another sweeping move, but Mark Van Gisbergen’s pass sailed into touch just outside the 22, with Wade having a clear run to the line.

A characteristic dash from Joe Simpson almost set up a seventh try, but Lachlan Mitchell was caught by the defence, a few metres out from the corner, and the game ended with Wasps 38-15 winners.

The programme of pre-season friendlies ends next Friday evening, with an away game at Glasgow. After that, the serious business gets under way when we take on our old rivals Harlequins, before what looks like being a record crowd for the London Double Header.

London Wasps

15 Lachlan Mitchell
14 Tom Varndell
13 Dominic Waldouck
12 Ben Jacobs
11 Christian Wade
10 Eoghan Hickey
9 James Honeyben
1 Charlie Beech
2 Tom Lindsay
3 Gabriel Bocca
4 Marty Veale
5 Dan Leo
6 Hugo Ellis
7 Serge Betsen (c)
8 Dan Ward-Smith

Replacements: Rob Webber, Tom French, Ben Broster, John Hart, Warren Fury, Steve Kefu, Mark Odejobi, Mark Van Gisbergen, Will Matthews, Peter Elder , Tim Payne, Arthur Ellis, Joe Simpson


15 Steven Bortolussi
14 Andrew Vilk
13 Gonzalo Garcia
12 Fraser Waters
11 Tommaso Benvenuti
10 Luke McLean
9 Simon Picone
1 Augusto Allori
2 Leonardo Ghiraldini
3 Pedro di Santo
4 Antonio Pavanello
5 Corniel Van Zyl
6 Robert Barbieri
7 Benjamin Vermaak
8 Dion Kingi

Replacements:16 Enrico Ceccato, 17 Michele Rizzo, 18 Ignacio Fernandez Rouyet, 19 Enrico Pavanello, 20 Silvio Orlando 21 Emiliano Mulieri 22 Fabio Semenzato 23 Alessandro Zanni, 24 Alberto Sgarbi 25 Diego Vidal 26 Marius Goosen