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After a disappointing first half, which saw them trail 10-0 at the break, they clawed their way back to within a point, but were unable to produce a winning score, and Gloucester’s win puts them into the playoff positions, with Wasps now down in sixth place.
After an early exchange of kicking, Wasps set up the first dangerous attacking position, when Dave Walder’s long diagonal effort found touch at the corner, with Richard Haughton in hot pursuit. They were unable to take advantage, as Gloucester secured possession from the lineout, and cleared upfield.
When Gloucester attacked, the Wasps defence forced a knockon, and Joe Simpson made ground before sending Haughton away down the right. He kicked ahead, but the defence was back, to gather, just outside the 22.
Simpson then set the crowd roaring, with a characteristic burst from inside his own half, which gave Haughton another chance to break away down the left, but his kick ahead was just too far, and Gloucester were able to touch down for a 22 dropout.
With both sides keen to attack, there was plenty of movement, but a series of turnovers prevented them from building momentum, and the steady rain made handling difficult.
It was Gloucester who went ahead in the seventeenth minute, when a hoisted kick by Charlie Sharples was not gathered by the Wasps defence, and James Simpson-Daniel hacked ahead, to beat Tom Varndell to the touchdown, under the posts. Nicky Robinson converted.
Seven minutes later, the flyhalf landed a simple penalty, after Wasps were caught offside inside their 22, to stretch the lead to ten points. Wasps needed a quick response, and good, strong running by the forwards took them deep into the 22, but Dom Waldouck’s hurried pass out to Haughton was around his ankles, and he was unable to gather.
In the closing minutes of the half, Gloucester controlled territory, without being able to create any tryscoring chances, and halftime came with the visitors still ten points up.
Four minutes into the second half, Joe Simpson’s strong challenge on James Simpson-Daniel forced a knockon, and Gloucester were then penalised, just outside their 22. Dave Walder landed the kick , and was again on target a minute later, when the visitors were caught offside on their ten-metre line.
Simpson-Daniel then set the alarm bells ringing, when he gathered a kick ahead and cut infield, through the heart of the Wasps defence, but his long pass out to the right was knocked on. A penalty at a scrum, ten metres inside the Wasps half, then gave Robinson the chance to restore the seven-point lead, but his kick dropped beneath the crossbar. The Gloucester pack then showed its power, with a driving maul that took play deep into the Wasps 22, following a lineout. It resulted in a penalty, but Robinson was again off target, sending his kick just to the left of the posts.
The first replacement for Wasps came on 58 minutes, when Marty Veale took the place of John Hart, who’d been making his first appearance of the season. He was soon followed by Mark Van Gisbergen and Tom Lindsay, who came on for Richard Haughton and Joe Ward. Lindsay was immediately at the heart of a scrum which produced a Wasps penalty in the centre of the field, on the Gloucester 10-metre line, and Walder narrowed the gap to a single point, with 16 minutes left. There was then a lengthy injury break, after Simpson-Daniel and Tom Varndell both went down, following a collision in the home 22. The stretchers came on, and both players were carried off. Varndell’s departure brought Nic Berry into the action, with Joe Simpson moving out to the wing.
When play finally resumed, there were still 14 minutes left. After several minutes inside their own 22, Wasps managed to break out, and spent the best part of three minutes with the ball in the forwards, who battled to set up a position for a
drop goal. The defence kept them bay, and when the ball eventually came to Dave
Walder, he snatched at his kick, which was well short and wide.
When Gloucester found their way back into the Wasps half, they played the clock down, keeping the ball in their forwards, until they forced a penalty, 45 metres out, with less than two minutes to play. Robinson went for the posts, his kick went wide, Wasps tried to counterattack, but then kicked downfield, a scrum ensured and Gloucester were left with the spoils.
Next weekend, Wasps travel to Leicester. Then, on Sunday the 27th, they return to Adams Park, to take on Saracens, with a 1pm kickoff.
15 Ben Jacobs
14 Richard Haughton
13 Dominic Waldouck
12 Riki Flutey
11 Tom Varndell
10 Dave Walder
9 Joe Simpson
1 Tim Payne
2 Joe Ward (c)
3 Ben Broster
4 James Cannon
5 Richard Birkett
6 Joe Worsley
7 Serge Betsen
8 John Hart
16 Tom Lindsay 17 Shaun Ruwers 18 Bob Baker 19 Marty Veale 20 Sam Jones 21 Nic Berry 22 Steve Kefu 23 Mark Van Gisbergen
15 Charlie Sharples; 14 James Simpson-Daniel 13 Tim Molenaar, 12 Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, 11; 10 Nicky Robinson, 9 Dave Lewis; 1 Nick Wood, 2 Darren Dawidiuk, 3 Paul Doran-Jones; 4 Will James 5 Jim Hamilton 6 Peter Buxton, 7 Andrew Hazell, 8 Luke Narraway (c)
16 Olivier Azam, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 Rupert Harden, 19 Alasdair Strokosch, 20 Akapusi Qera, 21 Jordi Pasqualin, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Jonny May