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On a damp afternoon at Adams Park, Wasps completed their preseason programme with a comfortable victory over London Irish. They outscored them by three tries to two. Two late Jon Fisher tries were some consolation for the visitors, but Wasps were good value for their win.
Wasps came close to an opening score inside the first minute. They won a lineout on the Irish 22, the forwards controlled the ball well, for Guy Thompson to break off and make several metres. He linked with Joe Simpson, who fed Andy Goode. Tom Varndell came into the line from his wing, and chipped towards the corner, but the bounce just beat Josh Bassett.
Irish responded immediately with a powerful attack down the left, featuring Sailosi Tagicabikau, who took play deep into the 22. The ball was moved back infield and Wasps were penalised near their posts. Tom Homer had a straightforward kick, but caught it badly, sending the ball to the left of the posts. To make things worse, he collapsed in a heap after the kick and had to be helped from the field.
Almost immediately, Wasps were penalised at a scrum 40 metres out. Shane Geraghty took over the kicking duties, but his effort fell short and wide. Several minutes of Irish possession ended when they were penalised for going off their feet, giving Wasps a welcome chance to leave their 22.
Another series of Irish phases followed, but the Wasps defence was looking reassuringly solid, eventually forcing a knockon, on their 10-metre line. From the scrum, Joe Simpson's long diagonal kick found touch near the Irish 22.
David Paice's long throw missed the Irish rear jumper, and Guy Thompson pounced on to the loose ball to find his way deep into the Irish 22. Quick recycling saw the ball moved out to the left, but it was buried beneath a pile of bodies, a few metres from the line, and Irish were awarded the put-in.
Wasps had a stroke of luck, after they had been penalised at a scrum on the Irish 10-metre line, when Geraghty overhit his kick, sending it dead. They failed to capitalise, losing the ball against the head. Irish attacked down the right, in the best move of the match, which took play deep into the 22, out on the right. When they moved back out to the left, they had numbers out wide, but Josh Bassett pulled off an interception, a few metres out from his line. Helped by his forwards, he made 35 metres, before the maul went down, and Irish again won the put-in.
As they tried to move the ball along the backs, Wasps forced another knockon. They pounced on the loose ball, and Ben Jacobs sent a well-directed kick towards the left corner. Tom Varndell was in hot pursuit but could not quite beat the ball before it went into touch. Irish then tried to attack from their 22, but lost possession. From the next lineout, Wasps set up a powerful drive, which ended with Guy Thompson applying the finishing touch, after 27 minutes of play.
Goode added the conversion, and Wasps almost added a second try, after another lineout. Charlie Hayter sliced through midfield, before finding Varndell outside him. The winger was brought down just short, but the ball was worked back infield, and Goode sent another precision kick out to the right. Josh Bassett was on hand, and the ball was recycled quickly, only for Wasps to be forced into touch at the corner.
The referee brought play back for a Wasps penalty, and Goode landed an excellent kick to stretch the lead to 10-0.
Wasps now seemed to step up a gear, and looked likely to score out on the right. Ben Jacobs went for the line himself, but was stopped just short. A series of short-range thrusts came close to a second try, before Irish were again penalised, and Goode made no mistake, to make it 13-0, five minutes before halftime.
Two minutes before the break, a powerful Wasps scrum set up another great chance, but a pass went astray, just short of the line. Irish conceded a free-kick at the resultant scrum. Wasps went for a scrum. Guy Thompson picked up from the base and moved the ball out to the left, but Varndell was forced into touch near the corner, in the final play of the half.
Irish made multiple changes at the start of the second half, and one of the replacements, flyhalf Miles Dorrian missed a straightforward penalty, two minutes after the restart.
Three minutes later, Wasps were awarded a penalty on halfway. Joe Simpson took it quickly, and weaved his way out to the right. Quick hands sent Josh Bassett away down the right, and he showed excellent strength to force his way deep into the 22. The ball was recycled quickly and Goode hoisted a kick towards the left corner, where Varndell was looking threatening. It took as desperate slap at the ball from replacement fullback Fergus Mulchrone to deny him. Wasps put on the squeeze at the scrum, five metres out. Irish were penalised. Wasps took another scrum, and again sent the Irish pack backwards, at a rate of knots, and the referee awarded Wasps their second penalty try in two weeks.
The conversion was a formality for Goode, and Wasps were now looking strong at 20-0, after 48 minutes.
Wasps then made a series of replacements and the arrival of Christian Wade was enthusiastically welcomed by the home crowd, with just over 25 minutes to go.
As the game entered the final quarter, Irish came close to their first score, when replacement winger Alex Lewington received the ball out wide on the right. He chipped over Andrea Masi, and narrowly failed to reach the ball before it went dead.
Irish then had another attacking opportunity in the same corner, when Masi failed to gather a long kick and deflected it into touch. The Irish forwards went for the catch and drive. Wasps kept them out, but play moved infield, before number 8 Jon Fisher broke off and managed to force his way over, between the posts. Dorrian added the simple conversion, to make the score 20-7, with a quarter of an hour left.
A minute later, Joe Carlisle, who'd replaced Andy Goode, thumped over a monster penalty from just inside his own half, to put Wasps 23-7 ahead.
Directly from the restart, Irish forced a turnover, the ball was moved out to the right, and Fisher was on hand to crash over for his second try. Dorrian's conversion attempt, from wide out, drifted to the left of the posts.
Wasps responded well, with a powerful run by Rory Pitman, from a scrum in the 22, launching a sustained attack, which stretched the Irish defence. Wasps won a penalty, and chose to kick for the corner, but a powerful drive by the forwards was ruled to have involved crossing, and Irish were able to clear to near the 10-metre line.
Within a minute, Wasps sent another penalty kick to the corner. This time, they spun tne ball out to the backs, and Charlie Hayter chose a perfect line to come on to the ball at speed. He seemed certain to score, but was stopped just short of the line by a high tackle by Tomas O'Leary. The referee decided to award Wasps a second penalty try, and showed O'Leary a yellow card.
Carlisle's conversion stretched the Wasps lead to 30-12, inside the final five minutes.
Irish made one last attempt for a consolation score, when they kicked a penalty to the corner, with the clock at zero. They came infield and then moved back out wide, but the Wasps defence forced them into touch, and the final whistle blew.
With their pre-season programme now over, Wasps will now concentrate on preparation for their first Premiership game of the new season, when they face Harlequins in the London Double Header at Twickenham, on September the 7th.
London Wasps team
15 Andrea Masi,14 Josh Bassett, 13 Ben Jacobs, 12 Charlie Hayter, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Joe Simpson, 1 Matt Mullan, 2 Neil Cochrane, 3 Will Taylor, 4 Keatnan Myall, 5 Tom Palmer, 6 Sam Jones (captain), 7 Guy Thompson, 8 Ed Jackson
16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Jake Cooper-Wooley, 19 Taione Vea, 20 James Cannon, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Matt Everard, 23 Joe Carlisle, 24 Rory Pitman, 25 Christian Wade, 26 Elvis Seveali'i, 27 Tommy Bell
London Irish team
15. Tom Homer; 14. Andrew Fenby; 13. Guy Armitage; 12. Eamonn Sheridan; 11. Sailosi Tagicakibau; 10. Shane Geraghty; 9. Pat Phibbs; 1. Matt Parr; 2. David Paice; 3. Halani Aulika; 4. George Skivington (Captain); 5. Bryn Evans; 6. Kieran Low; 7. Declan Danaher; 8. Jon Fisher
16. Jimmy Stevens; 17. Jonny Harris; 18. Jamie Hagan; 19. Nic Rouse; 20. Gerard Ellis; 21. Myles Dorrian; 22. Darren Allinson 23. Tomás O’Leary; 24. Chris Hala’ufia; 25. Fergus Mulchrone; 26. Alex Lewington