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Taulafo scored three tries in the opening half
Wasps scored seven tries in the game, with the first three going to Zak Taulafo, in an unlikely but well-taken 20-minute hat-trick.
The game began at a furious pace, with Wasps controlling early possession, and giving their forwards plenty of opportunity to show off their handling skills. Ashley Johnson was prominent, and he was instrumental in establishing the position from which Wasps took the lead after four minutes.
They won a lineout, inside the Irish 22, and a well-controlled drive was too powerful for the Irish defence, ending with Zak Taulafo going over for a try. Will Robinson landed a fine kick, to make it 7-0.
Five minutes later, Wasps came close to a second try, when a neat switch of direction sent guest player Jimmy Speirs through a gap in midfield. He fed James Bailey, who raced into the 22, only being stopped just short of the line. With opportunities on either side, Wasps were penalised at the breakdown, and the chance.
Almost immediately, excellent handling by James Cannon and Sam Jones gave Jack Wallace the chance to break away down the right, but the defence forced him into touch.
After Paul Emerick came close, Wasps stretched their lead with carbon copy of their first try, and it was again Zak Taulafo who applied the finishing touch after a catch and drive. Will Robinson added the conversion, to give Wasps a 14-0 lead after a quarter of an hour.
A Mike Ward penalty, from 40 metres, opened the Irish account.
Two minutes later, Zak Taulafo completed a hat-trick, with another replica of his previous two tries, following James Cannon’s excellent lineout leap. Robinson’s kick hit the left post.
An excellent piece of work by Ashley Johnson then sent James Bailey racing away down the left touchline. As he approached the 22, he chipped ahead, but the ball ran into touch.
Wasps then claimed the bonus point with a superb try, set up by a fine run by Jack Wallace. He combined with Sam Jones and James Cannon. The lock was stopped just short of the line, but Simon McIntyre was on hand to go over for a try, which Robinson converted to make the score 26-3 with 13 minutes of the half to play.
Seven minutes before the break, a Wasps handling error gave Foster Horan the chance to scoop up a loose ball and race 40 metres for a well-taken try, between the posts. Ward’s conversion made the score 26-10.
Wasps then turned down a kick at goal, from a penalty, in front of the posts. They opted for a scrum, and a dominant shove created another penalty, ten metres out. Quick ball gave Jordan Brooks the chance to break to the right. Jack Wallace came into the lane, and he delivered a scissors pass to Liam O’Neill, who dropped the ball with the line at his mercy. Half-time came with the score unchanged, after 40 minutes of frenetic rugby.
Wasps stretched their lead, five minutes into the second half, and the try again came from a lineout. This time, it was James Cannon who powered his way over, after the initial drive had stopped, and the ball had been recycled. Will Robinson added the extra points, with a straightforward kick, from just to the left of the posts.
With both sides having made a number of replacements, play continued in helter-skelter fashion. One of the Wasps replacements, David Howell, caught the eye, with an elusive run, before Liam O’Neill produced a superb jinking run from his own 22.
It was Irish who produced the next score, and a fine effort it was. It began with a deft chip by Ludi Hopkinson, ten metres inside his own half. He gathered his own kick, before feeding Foster Horan. He combined well with Mike Worrincy, who drew the final defender, before sending Gerard Ellis in for a superb try. Hopkinson was then unable to take the conversion, as the ball kept falling off the tee, and he ran out of time, under the new 90-second rule.
Wasps responded immediately, with an equally fine score – this time, it was an individual effort by Liam O’Neill, who beat a series of defenders, in a 30-metre run which produced one of the biggest cheers of the night. Will Robinson’s conversion stretched the lead to 40-15, with 15 minutes left.
Another scintillating burst by David Howells, down the right wing, was the launching pad for another thrilling move, in which the ball swept across the field, before Jimmy Speirs dived for the corner, only for the officials to rule that he had been forced into touch.
With four minutes to go, Wasps added a seventh try, when Jack Wallace’s incisive run set up replacement Tom Howe for a fine score, in the right corner. Howe came close, in the same corner, after another flowing move. It was then the turn of Howells to come close, in the opposite corner, after he did well to hang on to a pass, before juggling the ball, and finally losing control, just short of the line.
That was the final action of an entertaining evening.
Lonodon Wasps A : Jack Wallace, Liam O’Neill, Paul Emerick, Jimmy Speirs, James Bailey, Will Robinson, Jordan Brooks, Simon McIntyre, Nathan Morris, Zak Taulafo, Richard Birkett (capt.), James Cannon, Sam Jones, Matt Everard, Ashley Johnson
Replacements: Derek Asbun, Anthony Kent, Harry Williams, Adam Peters, Lewis Calder, Jonathan Woodward, Tom Howe, David Howells
London Irish A: David Jackson, Luke Peters, Foster Horan, Mike Worrincy, Conor Gaston, Mike Ward, Jack Moates, John Ryan, Brian Blaney, Richard Palframan, Jack Ramshaw, James Doherty, Shaun Malton, Gerard Ellis, Alex Gray
Replacements: Alex Wood, Tom Macdonald, Charlie Davey, Ben Lonergan, Lorcan Dow, Ludi Hopkinson, Tom Fowley, Stu Commins