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Match Report

09 Aug 2013: Wasps v Clermont-Auvergne

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Match Report
Clermont's Badge ASM Clermont Auvergne 36
Wasps's Badge Wasps 27
Fixture Type: Domestic Friendly Venue: Stade du Mas
Match Date: Fri 09 Aug 2013, Kick Off: 20:00

Wasps lose narrowly in first outing

ASM Clermont Auvergne 36 - 27 London Wasps

Wasps began their preseason programme with a gutsy performance against the star-studded French giants. Three first-half tries took the home side by surprise, as Wasps led 27-13 at the break.

The home side took control in the second half, but Wasps clung on to their lead, until the final ten minutes, and two late penalties gave Clermont a 36-27 victory.

This was a very encouraging performance by a new-look side , as Clermont went into the game a month ahead of them, in terms of preparation, with this being their third fixture ahead of the start of the Top 14 next weekend.

Wasps made an excellent start, taking the ball from the kick-off and controlling possession, before Tom Varndell broke away down the left. He was stopped near the corner, but Clermont were penalised and Andy Goode landed an excellent penalty to give his side a deserved lead.

Clermont came close to a try, after they gathered a high kick ahead and made ground down the middle, before moving the ball out to the left. Naipolio Nalaga kicked ahead and it took some desperate defence to keep him out near the left corner.

Clermont kept up the pressure and seemed certain to score out wide on the right, but Tom Varndell intercepted, five metres from his line and raced away for a spectacular try, which Goode converted, to put Wasps 10-0 up, after 8 minutes.

Clermont responded two minutes later, with a Brock James penalty. Goode was then on target with a 42-metre penalty, from wide out on the right, to restore Wasps’ 10-point advantage, with 17 minutes gone.

Four minutes later, Wasps stunned the home crowd with a second try from Varndell – the result of Goode’s beautifully judged diagonal kick to the left corner, which made full use of the huge in-goal are. Varndell managed to win the race to the ball to touch down before it went dead. Goode added the extra points with a touchline conversion to give Wasps a hugely encouraging 20-3 lead.

Clermont came back with a well-worked try of their own, using their powerful pack to punch their way deep into the Wasps 22, sucking in defenders to create an opening for Regan King to cross the line. James added the extra points to make the score 20-10, with 13 minutes left before halftime.

Seven minutes before the break, James pulled back another three points with a simple penalty from just outside the Wasps 22, making the score 20-13.

In the final minute of the half, Goode’s delicate chip over the defence created a superb try for Charlie Davies. Charlie Hayter gathered the ball, 35 metres out and cut inside. He seemed to have broken clear, but was stopped just short of the line. He produced a neat offload, and Davies crashed over, near the posts. Goode’s simple conversion made the halftime score 27-13 to the men in Black and Gold – a scoreline which few would have predicted ahead of the game.

Clermont came out in the second half with a real desire and soon after the game restarted, the home backs put together the most sweeping move of the game, which came close to bringing them their second try. A handling error prevented the score, but another dominant scrum set up a penalty to the corner. The first catch and drive almost produced a try. A second one resulted in the forwards piling over the line en masse. James landed the difficult conversion to bring the score to 27-20, with 56 minutes gone and the home side now very much in the ascendancy.

It was no surprise when Clermont added a third try, after Brock James’ crisp pass sent Nalaga bursting through a gap to split the defence open. He was stopped inside the 22, but quick possession gave James the chance to send another precision kick to the corner, and Jean-Marcel Buttin, now playing on the wing, was first to the touchdown. James missed the conversion, but the Wasps lead was now down to just 2 points, with 15 minutes left.

Clermont were now taking firm control, and they finally took the lead when Wasps tried running the ball from their own 22. A stray pass snapped up by home side, and Nalaga went over in the corner ten minutes from time. James could not convert, but the score was now 30-27 in favour of Clermont.

Another bold Wasps counterattack sent Varndell racing away down the left. He beat his man on the outside and made 30 metres, before being stopped just outside the 22. Play continued, and Wasps won a penalty. Joe Carlisle went for goal, but his kick hit the post, and Clermont touched down for a 22 drop-out. They took it quickly, and a good chase forced a penalty, 35 metres out. James landed the three points, to put his side six points in front, with under five minutes to go.

Wasps continued to attack, but another move broke down and Noa Nakaitaci hacked downfield, into the unguarded 22. It took a superb piece of covering by Charlie Hayter to deny him a score, but Tom Varndell was caught in possession and penalised as he tried to break away. Another James penalty made the final score 36-27.

Wasps continue their build-up to the new season with a friendly against Connacht, in Galway, next Saturday. The following Saturday, the 24th of August, they face London Irish at Adams Park in their final warm-up game.

London Wasps team

15 Tommy Bell
14 Josh Bassett
13 Chris Bell ©
12 Charlie Hayter
11 Tom Varndell
10 Andy Goode
9 Joe Simpson
1 Simon McIntyre
2 Neil Cochrane
3 Will Taylor
4 James Cannon
5 Tom Palmer
6 Sam Jones
7 Matt Everard
8 Ed Jackson

16 Tom Lindsay
17 Matt Mullan
18 Phil Swainston
19 Ricky Reeves
20 Jake Cooper-Woolley
21 Kearnan Myall
22 Esteban Lozada
23 Guy Thompson
24 Charlie Davies
25 Jack Moates
26 Joe Carlisle
27 Ben Jacobs

Clermont Auvergne

15 Jean-Marcel Buttin
14 Noa Nakaitaci
13 Regan King
12 Benson Stanley
11 Naipolio Nalaga
10 Brock James
9 Morgan Parra
1 Thomas Domingo
2 Benjamin Kayser
3 Daniel Kotze
4 Julien Pierre
5 Loic Jacquet
6 Julien Bonnaire
7 Gehrard Vosloo
8 Damien Chouly

16 Tio Paulo
17 Raphael Chaume
18 Max Granouillet
19 Elvis Vermeulen
20 Thierry Lacrampe
21 Gavin Hume
22 Lee Byrne
23 Clement Ric
24 Ludovic Radosaly
25 Benoit Cabello
26 Uwa Tawalo
27 Julien Bardy