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Match Report

10 Aug 2012: Wasps v Benetton Treviso

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Match Report
Treviso's Badge Benetton Rugby Treviso 32
Wasps's Badge Wasps 15
Fixture Type: Friendly Venue: Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Match Date: Fri 10 Aug 2012, Kick Off: 20:30

Wasps fall short in Treviso

Benetton Treviso 32 - 15 London Wasps

Wasps began their pre-season programme with a defeat against an impressive Treviso side. After a keenly-contested first half, in which Wasps played most of the rugby, the home side took complete control in the second half.

After a sweltering afternoon in Treviso, the temperature had fallen to a bearable level by the time of kick-off, with the help of a gentle, cooling breeze.

Wasps got off to an excellent start, with a try after just two minutes. Sam Jones won a lineout on the home 22, the ball was moved out to the backs, where Lee Thomas immediately showed his power, by forcing his way over the gain line. Wasps recycled quickly, and a series of powerful surges, by Thomas, Simon McIntyre and Billy Vunipola took play towards the home line. With the referee playing advantage, it was Vunipola who powered his way over near the right corner, and Stephen Jones added the extra points, with a fine conversion.

Four minutes later, the home side pulled back three points, when fly half Alberto Di Bernardo landed a straightforward penalty, following a scrum on the Wasps 22.

Two minutes later, Di Bernardo had a chance to narrow the gap to one point, when Wasps were penalised after a fine run by fullback Brendan Williams, but his 35-metre kick went wide. Almost immediately, winger Christian Loamanu burst through a tackle to make 20 metres. A try seemed certain, as he fed the supporting Paul Derbyshire, but the return pass was knocked on, just short of the line.

A free-kick from the resultant scrum gave Wasps the chance to ease the pressure, and they then produced two attacks of their own. The first came when Lee Thomas gathered a kick ahead, and made good ground across the field, to feed Tom Varndell, out wide on the left. With defenders closing in he tried to chip over them, but the kick was safely gathered. In the second, Vunipola charged several metres, before a deft offload found Sam Jones, who took play up to the 22, before the movement broke down.

Wasps kept up the pressure, and, on nineteen minutes, they won a penalty outside the Treviso 22, and Stephen Jones made no mistake, from a few metres to the right of the posts.

Wasps came close to a second score, when defensive pressure from Lee Thomas forced a Treviso error, just outside the Wasps 22. The ball was quickly fed to Varndell, who came within a whisker of going into touch, as he slipped through a tackle, before racing downfield. He seemed odds on to score, before a superb covering tackle by Williams stopped him, five metres short of the line.

The home side were soon applying pressure at the other end of the field, and it took some excellent defence to keep them out, before a precious turnover gave Wasps the chance to clear downfield. They again came close to a second try, when Stephen Jones hoisted a kick towards the left corner. Varndell leapt up to deflect the ball towards Lee Thomas, but the defence just managed to keep him out.

Wasps then turned down a series of kickable penalties, but the home defence forced them back, before winning a turnover which gave the dangerous Brendan Williams a chance to launch a counterattack, which eventually took play right up to the Wasps line. They were awarded a penalty, but opted to take a scrum. A series of powerful thrusts created the chance for Di Bernardo to go over between the posts, on the stroke of halftime. He landed the simple conversion to make it 10-10 at the break.

Wasps posed the first threats of the second half, and twice turned down kicks at goal, to set up attacking positions, deep in the Treviso 22, but they were unable to find their way through. One chip by Nick Robinson, who had replaced Stephen Jones, put the defence under pressure, but an audacious counter-attack, from behind their line, took the home side up towards the 22. A minute later, centre Alberto Sgarbi rounded the defence, to run in a try near the right corner. Di Bernardo’s excellent kick made the score 17-10, with 51 minutes played.

The lead was stretched to 10 points, after a Wasps handling error, from a lineout on their 22, gave Treviso a scrum. They moved the ball quickly, and Wasps were penalised, in front of their posts, giving Di Bernardo the simplest of kicks.

The flyhalf was then replaced by Luke McLean, who immediately had the chance to go for goal, from 40 metres. The kick went just wide, but a Wasps knock on gave Treviso a scrum under the posts. They moved the ball out to the left, and the forwards forced their way over the line, but excellent defence prevented them from grounding the ball.

It was now all Treviso, and the constant pressure finally told, when McLean sent a neat kick behind the defence, for replacement Giulio Toniolatti to follow up and touch down, just before the ball went dead. McLean’s conversion was well off target, the commanding 25-10 lead was a fair reflection of how the second half had gone.

The home side were playing with enormous confidence, and it was no surprise when they added a fourth try – replacement James Ambrosini going over in the corner, after some fine interpassing between forwards and backs.

Christian Wade gave the handful of travelling supporters something to cheer about, after a long pass found him, on his 22. He accelerated around his opposite number, before kicking ahead, as he crossed the halfway line, but the defence managed to get back and gather the ball.

It was Wasps who scored the next try, after winning a lineout near the left corner. They were being driven backwards, when Zak Taulafo suddenly emerged with the ball, to charge ten metres for a score, which Nick Robinson was unable to convert.

Wasps spent the closing minutes camped on their line, and the final play of the game almost brought a fifth Treviso try, as Toniolatti narrowly failed to gather another fine crossfield kick by McLean, just short of the line.

Wasps play their second and final pre-season game next Friday evening, when they travel to Headingley to face Leeds Carnegie.

Wasps team

15 Tommy Bell 14 Tom Varndell 13 Chris Mayor 12 Lee Thomas 11 Jack Wallace 10 Stephen Jones 9 Nic Berry 1 Tim Payne 2 T Rhys Thomas 3 Simon McIntyre 4 James Cannon 5 Marco Wentzel (c) 6 Sam Jones 7 Matt Everard 8 Billy Vunipola

16 Tom Lindsay 17 Zak Taulafo 18 Lewis Thiede 20 Will Robinson 21 Charlie Davies 22 Nick Robinson 23 Christian Wade 24 Tom Palmer 25 Ashley Johnson 26 Andrea Masi 27 Joe Simpson


15 Brendan Williams 14 Christian Loamanu 13 Gideon La Grange 12 Alberto Sgarbi 11 Tommaso Iannone 10 Alberto Di Bernardo 9 Fabio Semenzato 1 Alberto De Marchi 2 Franco Sbaraglini 3 Ignacio Fernandez-Rouyet 4 Francesco Minto 5 Valerio Bernabo (c) 6 Simone Favaro 7 Paul Derbyshire 8 Marco Filippucci

16 Enrico Ceccato 17 Matteo Muccignat 18 Lorenzo Cittadini 20 Dean Budd 21 Alessandro Zanni 22 Ludovico Nitoglia 23 Edoardo Gori 25 Luke McLean 26 Giovanni Maistri 27 James Ambrosini 28 Giulio Toniolatti