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Match Report

17 Sep 2011: Wasps v Sale Sharks

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Match Report
Sharks's Badge Wasps 18
Wasps's Badge Wasps 29
Fixture Type: Aviva Premiership Venue: Adams Park
Match Date: Sat 17 Sep 2011, Kick Off: 15:00
Referee: Greg Garner Assistant Referee: Ashley Rowden
Assistant Referee: Robin Goodliffe

Wasps go down to Sale in disappointing defeat

After the elation of the wins over Saracens and Leicester, Wasps were brought firmly down to earth by a Sale side who thoroughly deserved their 29-18 win.

After some lively opening exchanges, in which both sides showed a welcome readiness to move the ball, Sale had the first scoring opportunity, when Wasps were caught offside, ten metres inside their own half, and Nick Macleod landed a fine kick to give them the lead.

A fine run by Tim Payne, ending with a lobbed pass, gave Christian Wade his first touch of the ball, but there was no space, and the Sale defence managed to stop him before he could pick up speed.

A minute later, the crowd were on their feet to hail a magnificent Wasps try, started when Richard Haughton gathered a kick just outside his 22. He used his pace to beat the first chasers, before feeding the supporting Joe Launchbury. He combined with Chris Mayor, who sent Chris Bell racing 25 metres to the right corner. Ryan Davis landed the extra points, with a superb kick from the touchline, to make it 7-3 to Wasps, after nine minutes.

Four minutes later, after Davis had sent a long penalty into touch inside the Sale 22. Sale were penalised at the lineout, and the flyhalf added three more ponts, with the help of the left-hand post.

Mcleod then hit a post with a straightforward penalty, but the ball bounced into Bell’s hands, and the centre cleared downfield. Another sweeping Wasps attack then ended with a wayward pass from Haughton, with Varndell unmarked outside him. Almost immediately, a Wasps offence gave Macleod another penalty chance, and he thumped the ball over, from halfway, to make it 10-6. Sale then produced their best attack of their game, moving the ball from deep, and keeping it alive with some excellent offloading, before being stopped, just outside the Wasps 22.

Another excellent raid put the Wasps defence under pressure, before a flipped pass was ruled forward, near the left corner. They stayed on the offensive, and a penalty from a scrum, on the Wasps ten metres line, gave Macleod the chance to narrow the gap to a single point, and he made no mistake, with ten metres of the half left.

After a rare Wasps attack ended with a knockon inside the Wasps 22, Sale came straight back with another fine move, which ended with lock Fraser McKenzie diving over for a richly deserved try, converted by Macleod, to give the visitors a 16-10 lead, three minutes from halftime. That became 19-10 with the final action of the half, when Macleod was again on target from near the halfway line, following another scrummage penalty. Wasps could have no complaints about the nine-point deficit, against a side which had posed a far greater attacking threat than either Saracens or Leicester, in the first two games of the season.

Wasps made one change at the start of the second half, with Hugo Southwell replacing Richard Haughton.

Sale almost stretched their lead, less than two minutes after the restart, when winger Charlie Amesbury lost control of the ball, as he dived for the corner. Several minutes of sustained pressure had the alarm bells ringing, before the Wasps defence forced a penalty on their line, to the huge relief of the home crowd. Another Wasps substitution brought Bob Baker into the front row, in place of Ben Broster. Baker was immediately into the action, following up Ross Filipo’s thunderous charge with a powerful run of his own, before possession was lost, and Sale won a penalty, a few metres outside their 22.

Sale were now taking control, and their decision to turn down a kickable penalty was rewarded when their forwards forced their way over from the resultant lineout, with David Seymour applying the final touch. Macleod had the simplest of kicks, to stretch the lead to 26-10, with 14 minutes of the half played.

After Tom Lindsay replaced Rob Webber, Davis immediately pulled back three points, with a 25-metre kick, from in front of the posts, but Sale were soon back at the other end of the field, and several minutes of pressure yielded three more points, when Macleod kicked an easy penalty, from almost in front of the posts, making it 29-13, with 17 minutes left.

Riki Flutey was the next Wasps replacement, taking the place of Tom Varndell. Davis then gave Wasps hope, when he wriggled over for a try, 11 minutes from time, following an excellent run by Bell. He was unable to add the conversion, leaving Wasps still trailing by 11 points.

Richard Birkett joined the fray for the final ten minutes, in place of Ross Filipo. He was followed by Joe Burton, coming on for skipper John Hart.

Wasps hammered away, in the closing minutes, trying to salvage at least a bonus point, but they were unable to breach the Sale defence, and a last-ditch attack ended with Christian Wade being forced into touch near halfway, to end a thoroughly disappointing afternoon for the men in Black and Gold.

Wasps now go on the road for two weeks, before returning to Adams Park to take on Bath, on Sunday, October the 8th.

Wasps team

15 Richard Haughton
14 Tom Varndell
13 Chris Mayor
12 Chris Bell
11 Christian Wade
10 RyanDavis
9 Nic Berry
1 Tim Payne
2 Rob Webber
3 Ben Broster
4 Ross Filipo
5 Marco Wentzel
6 Joe Launchbury
7 Jonathan Poff
8 John Hart (c)

16 Tom Lindsay
17 Jeremy Castex
18 Bob Baker
19 Richard Birkett
20 Joe Burton
21 Jonah Holmes
22 Riki Flutey
23 Hugo Southwell

Sale team

15 Rob Miller
14 Joaquin Tuculet
13 Andrew Higgins
12 Will Addison
11 Charlie Amesbury
10 Nick Macleod
9 Dwayne Peel
1 Lee Imiolek
2 Marc Jones
3 Henry Thomas
4 Fraser McKenzie
5 Kearnan Myall
6 James Gaskell
7 David Seymour (capt.)
8 Mark Easter

16 Tommy Taylor
17 Aston Croall
18 Vadim Cobilas
19 Tom Holmes
20 Neil Briggs
21 Scott Mathie
22 Kyle Tonetti
23 Tom Brady