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Match Report

26 Nov 2011: Wasps v London Irish

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Match Report
Irish's Badge London Irish 21
Wasps's Badge Wasps 17
Fixture Type: Aviva Premiership Venue: Madejski Stadium
Match Date: Sat 26 Nov 2011, Kick Off: 15:00
Referee: Sean Davey Assistant Referee: Andrew Watson
Assistant Referee: Gareth Copsey

Wasps edged out by Irish

London Irish 21 - 17 London Wasps

In a disappointing game, Wasps went down to a disappointing defeat. They produced the only try of the afternoon - Christian Wade’s tenth of the season, to secure a losing bonus point – but it was too late to affect the result, as the unerring boot of Tom Homer had put Irish nine points ahead, with just a few minutes to go.

After the first few minutes were played out largely between the 22s, Irish mounted the first serious attack, when Topsy Ojo came into the line at pace, following a lineout just outside the Wasps 22. The ball was then moved out to the left, and play was taken almost to the line, before Wasps were penalised. Irish opted for a quick tap, but were held up just short. From the resultant scrum, an excellent shove by the Wasps eight forced a handling error, and they won the put-in. After two resets, and a scrum lasting several minutes, Wasps were awarded a penalty, and Nick Robinson cleared to halfway.

Wasps won the lineout, and the forwards forced another penalty, this time in midfield, just inside the Irish half. Robinson went for the posts, and his kick had just enough to drop over the bar for the first score of the game, after 15 minutes. By now Ed O’Donoghue had come on to make his Wasps debut, as a replacement for Ross Filipo,, who’d suffered a shoulder injury.

Directly from the restart, Wasps were penalised, and Tom Homer levelled the scores, from 24 metres.

Wasps responded well, with a patient buildup by the forwards taking the ball through several phases, and ending with a penalty, just inside the Irish 22. From just to the left of the posts, Robinson put Wasps back in front. The lead lasted just a few minutes, before a strong Irish attack yielded another penalty, inside the Wasps 22, and Homer’s straightforward kick again levelled things, after 27 minutes of play.

After a series of high kicks, a Wasps move broke down, and Irish threatened on the counterattack. Topsy Ojo was almost through, but a great tackle from Dom Waldouck tackle brought him down, as he approached the 22. The ball went loose, Waldouck snapped it up and kicked ahead, but ran straight into an Irish forward. A hectic passage of play ended with Wasps being penalised at the breakdown, but Homer’s long-range kick drifted wide of the posts. A minute later, after a tantalising burst down the right, Christian Wade was penalised for not releasing. This time, from a similar distance, but from the other side of the field, Homer’s kick was straight and true, to put his side 9-6 up, three minutes before halftime.

Wasps chased the restart well, to force a hurried clearance. They won the lineout, 35 metres out, and Rob Webber, in his 100th game for the Black and Gold, took play infield. After a couple of further probes by the forwards, the backs were released, but Robinson’s pass to Elliot Daly went forward, as the young centre threatened to break through a gap. The whistle blew, to end a forgettable 40 minutes, in which neither side had looked likely to breach the opposition defence.

Wasps created the first meaningful attack of the second half, with Webber, John Hart and Richard Birkett all making the hard yards, before the backs were released. They appeared to have created a sniff of an overlap on the left, but the defence managed to get across and force Daly to deliver a forward pass to Tom Varndell.

From the scrum, a powerful Wasps shove produced a penalty, and Robinson was on target, from 45 metres, to make it 9-9, after 46 minutes. Wasps then produced the best passage of play of the game, with backs and forwards combining well, before a crucial turnover was conceded, inside the Irish 22. They immediately counterattacked, and Joe Ansbrough produced a threatening run, to take play right up to the Wasps 22, but there was no support, and the defence was able to snuff out the threat.

The Irish pack then turned the tables, with a powerful scrum of their own, to earn them a penalty, just inside the Wasps 10-metre line, and Homer made no mistake, to restore the 3-point lead, 12 minutes after the break.

After another extended exchange of high kicks, Ojo broke away dangerously down the left, and it took a splendid covering tackle by Ben Broster to force him into touch, a few metres inside the Wasps half.

With just over 20 minutes left, Joe Simpson became the first tactical replacement for Wasps, when he came on for Nic Berry. He immediately showed some neat footwork, at the end of a lineout, to launch a counterattack from inside his 22, but Dom Waldouck’s clearance was charged down. Irish piled on to the loose ball, the Wasps defence was caught offside, giving Homer the chance to stretch the lead to 15-9, and he made no mistake, from 40 metres.

Within two minutes, the lead was nine points, after Hugo Southwell gathered a bouncing ball, but was isolated, and penalised for not releasing, a few metres outside his 22. Homer’s kick never looked like missing.
After Simpson burst around the front of a lineout, and showed unexpected strength, to flatten a would-be tackler, Wasps found their way back into Irish territory, and an offside penalty gave Robinson a straightforward kick to reduce the gap to 18-12, with 12 minutes left.

Tim Payne and Rob Webber then made way for Zak Taulafo and Tom Lindsay. Richard Haughton then followed them into the action, as he took the place of Hugo Southwell. Eight minutes from time, the Irish scrum powered their way to another penalty, 35 metres out, giving Homer one of his simplest kicks of the day, to put Wasps out of bonus point territory.

Robinson missed a 40-metre penalty, three minutes from time, but a sustained attack, which began when Daly raced away down the right, then moved out to the left, where the forwards made a series of drives for the line, ended when the ball went back out to the right, and Tom Varndell sent Christian Wade over near the corner, for a try to secure the losing bonus point. The conversion went wide, and, with the clock at zero, Irish kicked the restart straight to touch, to end a game which had produced very little exciting rugby
Wasps are back on home territory next Sunday, when they face Harlequins, at Adams Park.

Wasps team to face London Irish

15 Hugo Southwell
14 Tom Varndell
13 Elliot Daly
12 Dom Waldouck
11 Christian Wade
10 Nick Robinson
9 Nic Berry

1 Tim Payne
2 Rob Webber
3 Ben Broster
4 Ross Filipo
5 Marco Wentzel
6 Richard Birkett
7 Matt Everard
8 John Hart (c)

16 Tom Lindsay
17 Zak Taulafo
18 Bob Baker
19 Ed O’Donoghue
20 Sam Jones
21 Joe Simpson
22 Ryan Davis
23 Richard Haughton

London Irish Team

15 Tom Homer
14 Topsy Ojo
13 Joe Ansbro
12 Jonathan Spratt
11 Adam Thompstone
10 Adrian Jarvis
9 Paul Hodgson

1 Clarke Dermody (c)
2 James Buckland
3 Faan Rautenbach
4 Nick Kennedy
5 Matt Garvey
6 Declan Danaher
7 Jamie Gibson
8 Jebb Sinclair

16 David Paice
17 Max Lahiff
18 Alex Corbisiero
19 James Sandford
20 Ofisa Treviranus
21 Anthony Watson
22 Guy Armitage
23 Ross Samson