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Match Report

12 Feb 2012: Wasps v Saracens

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Match Report
Saracens's Badge Wasps 17
Wasps's Badge Wasps 22
Fixture Type: Aviva Premiership Venue: Adams Park
Match Date: Sun 12 Feb 2012, Kick Off: 13:15
Referee: Greg Garner Assistant Referee: Nigel Carrick
TV Match Official: Graham Hughes Assistant Referee: Ashley Rowden

Saracens edge tight contest

London Wasps 17 - 22 Saracens

A battling display by Wasps saw them outscore Saracens by two tries to one, but that was not enough to secure a much-needed victory. Instead, they had to be content with a thoroughly deserved bonus point.

Wasps got off to a superb start, with a try after just three minutes. It came after Nick Robinson slid through a gap in midfield and set the backs in motion. Riki Flutey continued the move, before Billy Vunipola, who’d already made several powerful runs, crashed over near the left corner. Robinson added the extra points, with a beautifully struck conversion.

Saracens responded four minutes later, with a simple penalty by Alex Goode, from 25 metres, and just to the right of the posts. That was quickly followed by a second, easier penalty, from right in front of the posts, to bring the score to 7-6, after 12 minutes.

The visitors then began to find their rhythm, putting together some ominous passages of play. Before Nils Mordt’s kick to the corner went into touch in goal, giving Wasps the put-in to a scrum near halfway.

Saracens then took the lead with a try by James Short, who intercepted a long pass by Billy Vunipola, who’d just made a magnicent take, from another high kick by Mordt. The winger gathered, just inside the Wasps half, and had the pace to reach the line, despite a chaser by Richard Haughton. Goode’s conversion made it 13-7.

Wasps came back in the best possible fashion, after a towering kick by Nick Robinson was not gathered by the defence.It bounced right into the arms of Tom Lindsay, who gathered it at full speed, and powered his way over by the posts. Robinson’s conversion made it 14-13, after 22 minutes.

That lead lasted just two minutes, after another patient Saracens buildup resulted in a penalty just outside the 22, and Goode was again on target, to take the score to 16-14, a quarter of an hour before the break.

Wasps came close, when they counterattacked, from a Saracens kick. Dom Waldouck’s strong run down the left took the ball up to the 22, but the referee penalised the home side for not releasing, to the anger of the increasingly frustrated home crowd, who had seen a series of decisions go against their side. When a scrum penalty finally went their way, Robinson’s kick set up a lineout near the 22. After Ed O’Donoghue won quick ball, slick passing fed Vunipola, who came in to the line at pace, only to lose the ball in the tackle, as he threatened to punch a big hole in the defence.

Nic Berry then dashed through a gap, from a lineout on the Wasps 22. He made 20 metres, but Marco Wentzel was unable to hang on to his pass, with a promising situation developing down the left.

Halftime came with the score unchanged, after 40 minutes in which Wasps had produced some encouraging and spirited rugby, but the controlled, disciplined approach of the visitors always looked likely to put them into point-scoring positions.

Just over a minute after the restart, Wasps were penalised for collapsing a scrum, just outside their 22, and Goode kept up his 100% strike rate, to stretch the lead to 19-14.

Ten minutes into the second half, Wasps made their first substitution, when Joe Simpson replaced Nic Berry. He was immediately involved in a fine Wasps attack, which began with yet another powerful charge by Vunipola.

After Simpson’s dart for the line, the forwards made a series of unsuccessful drives for the line, before a penalty was awarded, 15 metres in from touch, but Robinson’s kick went just to the left of the posts.

Wasps were now making frequent use of high kicks downfield, but Alex Goode was rarely looking life dropping anything. With nearly every scrum resulting in a Saracens penalty, it became harder for Wasps to sustain any pressure, and a front row replacement brought Zak Taulafo on, in place of Tim Payne. Despite their problems, they were still showing great spirit.

With 15 minutes left, Richard Birkett and Riki Flutey, who had both required lengthy treatment, were replaced by Sam Jones, and Welsh international Tom Prydie, making his Wasps debut. He made an immediate impact, when he gathered a loose ball after Jackson Wray dropped another high kick. The ball was moved quickly out to the right, but Tom Lindsay came back infield, before Saracens were penalised, and Robinson’s kick narrowed the gap to just two points, with 12 minutes left.

A handling error at the restart immediately gave Saracens a scrum, just inside the Wasps 22. The inevitable penalty resulted, as the scrum went round, and Wasps were adjudged to have brought it down. Goode’s kick restored the five-point advantage, with just nine minutes left. Ben Broster made way for Simon McIntyre. Wasps battled gamely through the closing minutes, but were unable to claim the try which could have claimed at least a draw.

Wasps are back at Adams Park next Saturday, when they face Exeter Chiefs, in the Aviva Premiership

Wasps team

15 Hugo Southwell
14 Richard Haughton
13 Dom Waldouck
12 Riki Flutey
11 Elliot Daly
10 Nick Robinson
9 Nic Berry

1 Tim Payne
2 Tom Lindsay
3 Ben Broster
4 Ed O'Donoghue
5 Marco Wentzel ( c)
6 Richard Birkett
7 Jonathan Poff
8 Billy Vunipola

16 Vladislav Korshunov
17 Zak Taulafo
18 Simon McIntyre
19 Heinz Koll
20 Sam Jones
21 Joe Simpson
22 Ryan Davis
23 Tom Prydie


15 Alex Goode
14 Duncan Taylor
13 Chris Wyles
12 Adam Powell
11 James Short
10 Nils Mordt
9 Peter Stringer

1 John Smit ©
2 Jamie George
3 Carlos Nieto
4 George Kruis
5 Hayden Smith
6 Justin Melck
7 Andy Saull
8 Jackson Wray


16 Schalk Brits
17 Rhys Gill
18 Petrus du Plessis
19 Hugh Vyvyan
20 Will Fraser
21 Neil de Kock
22 Joel Tomkins
23 Michael Tagicakibau