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Wasps were forced into a late change to their line-up after Andy Powell was unable to complete the warm up with a calf strain. His place was taken by Will Matthews, with Sam Jones coming onto the bench.
The visitors got off to a lively start, dominating the early exchanges. They were rewarded for their pressure when Wasps were penalised after seven minutes, a few metres inside their 22. Fly half Matthew Jones landed the kick to put them ahead.
The first significant Wasps attack came in the 15th minute when the backs moved the ball wide from well inside their own half. Ben Jacobs kicked ahead and number 8 Toby Faletau did well to get to it, ahead of the chasing Tom Varndell, enabling the visitors to clear from just short of their line.
Wasps began to put together some phases but the freezing conditions brought the inevitable handling errors and they were unable to make the most of their good work.
When Wasps did manage to move the ball out wide, the Dragons defence got across well to force first Mark Van Gisbergen, then Ben Jacobs into touch. A pass from Simon Shaw then gave Tom Varndell the chance to stretch his legs, cutting inside from the right wing before being stopped in midfield and losing possession in the tackle. Moments later, Joe Simpson produced a blistering burst of pace to race away down the right. As he approached the 22, he chipped ahead but was knocked over in the chase and the visitors again managed to clear to safety.
It was a quick penalty from Simpson which gave Dave Walder the chance to level the score two minutes before halftime. The scrum half was stopped before he’d gone ten metres, taking the kick within range, but Walder pulled his kick left. Just over minute later, a Dragons offside gave him an easier chance from 40 metres, in front of the posts. This time he was on target to make it 3-3 at the break.
Just twenty seconds into the second half, Walder gave his side the lead after Dragons were penalised directly from the kick off. Almost immediately, Wasps were caught offside, just outside their 22. Jones’s kick at goal was delayed, while Will Matthews received treatment after going down in a heavy tackle. When he eventually went for the posts he sent his kick just wide.
After a neat dummy by Dave Walder saw him make good ground, Wasps finally found their way over the line after 49 minutes. Mark Van Gisbergen fielded a high ball and sent David Lemi away, in acres of space down the left. The winger was stopped just short by what looked like a high tackle but Wasps kept the ball alive and Joe Ward forced his way over. Walder added the extra points to give his side a 10-point lead. Three minutes later that lead became 16-3 when the fly half was on target with a 40-metre penalty.
Wasps were now beginning to take charge with their ball retention much improved and their forwards putting the pressure on the opposition eight.
The first Wasps substitution of the day saw Steve Kefu make way for Riki Flutey, making a welcome return after a calf injury.
Dragons’ winger Aled Brew set the alarm bells ringing, with a scintillating burst through the middle of the Wasps defence and it took a timely interception by David Lemi to clear the danger. Moments later Wasps pounced on a loose ball after scrum half Wayne Evans was caught in possession. The ball was moved quickly out to the right and Van Gisbergen dived over in the right corner. Walder added the extra points with magnificent kick from the touchline to make it 23-3 with just under 15 minutes left.
Joe Worsley, who’d put in another committed performance, was then replaced by Marty Veale. At the same time Nic Berry came on for Joe Simpson while Tom Lindsay and Bob Baker took the places of Joe Ward and Ben Broster.
It was Berry who set up a 70th minute try for Tom Varndell when he stole possession and raced towards the line. He found Varndell on his inside and the winger strolled over unopposed. Another Walder conversion made it 30-3 as Richard Haughton replaced Mark Van Gisbergen.
Berry then scored himself to secure the bonus point, grabbing a loose ball to dive over after the Wasps pack disrupted a Dragons five-metre scrum. Walder was again on target.
With Sam Jones now on the field,in place of Will Matthews to make his Heineken Cup debut, Brew went over for a late consolation try, which Jones converted to make the final score 37-10.
Wasps return to Aviva Premiership action next weekend when they face Saracens at Wembley Stadium. Their next home game is on Sunday, January the 2nd, when Newcastle Falcons are the visitors. Call 0844 2252990 to book tickets for both games.