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Match Report

10 Nov 2002: Wasps v Leeds Tykes

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Match Report
Tykes's Badge Wasps 27
Wasps's Badge Wasps 27
Fixture Type: Zurich Premiership Venue: Adams Park
Match Date: Sun 10 Nov 2002, Kick Off: 15:00
Referee: Robin Goodliffe

London Wasps held to a draw

A second half fight-back from the Leeds Tykes secured a 27-all draw at Adams Park on Sunday, but Director of Rugby, Warren Gatland, was not happy with referee Robin Goodliffe, and will be making an official complaint to the RFU this week.

Goodliffe awarded more than 20 penalties against London Wasps, and in doing so, cost the home side a vital win.

The game, as a whole, was not the greatest and the constant stop-start whistle blowing from Goodliffe, did not help the cause.

Leeds put the first points on the board with a Braam Van Straaten penalty in the 3rd minute, but a penalty by fly half, Alex King, three minutes later, levelled the scores.

The conditions were not great for running rugby, but London Wasps looked the better side early on. An eighth minute try, by winger Shane Roiser, was just reward for this. A lineout won by lock Richard Birkett was sent down the backline to Roiser, who slid in to score in the corner. King missed the conversion, but the home side lead 8-3.

The try allowed London Wasps to build a foundation and apply pressure to the Leeds defence. The pressure came from King. His placing of the ball and touch finding was superb. The rest he had last week obviously did him good.

A rare penalty miss by Van Straaten in the 11th minute, was followed by a successful one in the 14th, which brought the scores closer at 8-6.

In the 19th minute an up and under from King was collected by Roiser and made available for the backs, but Leeds were once again penalised for diving into the ruck.
King was on song and made no mistake with the penalty, 11-6 to London Wasps.

A penalty by King in the 25th minute, was followed up by a scintillating charge up the middle by flanker Paul Volley. His pure power took him within a few yards of the try line, only to be tackled by Diego Albanese. It was a very good chance for London Wasps, but some good defence from Albanese and the forwards saw Dan Scarbrough boot the ball into touch.

Questions were asked before the game at how the London Wasps pack would cope without Lawrence Dallaglio. The answer may lie with the fact that Paul Volley was named man of the match. Volley, and the rest of the pack, dominated most of the scrums and after about phase five of a recycled maul, the ball found it's way once again down the backline and into the hands of Roiser. A last gasp tackle from Hegarty prevented Roiser from scoring his second.

Penalties were the order of the day and with referee Goodliffe giving them away like candy, it was no surprise that both King and Kenny Logan closed out the first half with a penalty apiece. Logan slotted a monster, from about 55m out, to take London Wasps into a comfortable 20-6 lead at half time.

The second half, London Wasps started where they left off. Hooker, Phil Greening, came out firing and his 20m run set up a Paul Volley try. Greening playing in the backline completed a remarkable scissor switch to Volley, who dived over for the home side's second try. The crowd, of close to 4,500 were in full voice and with King converting, the writing was on the wall for Leeds. A 27-6 lead for the Men in Black, was surely enough to secure a win, and maybe go on and secure a bonus point.

Unfortunately, from a London Wasps perspective it wasn't.

A penalty from Van Straaten in the 51st minute took the score to 27-12, but Leeds looked desperate, and as the saying goes, desperation sometimes pays off. Van Straaten was asked to slot two very long-range penalty attempts, one of which was close on 60m. He missed both but made sure with another two, in the 53rd and 66th minutes, which brought the scores to 27-15.

The 67th minute saw the introduction of Fraser Waters and at this stage, referee Goodliffe had awarded Leeds 11 penalties in the second half alone. The crowd began to show more frustration at Goodliffe.

The Yorkshiremen threw everything they had at the Men in Black and got their reward in the 69th minute, when Mark Regan crossed to score his first try ever in Leeds colours. Van Straaten missed the conversion, but at 27-20 down with 10 minutes left, Leeds pressed on.

The crowd started to once again voice their disapproval with Goodliffe, and one could sense that London Wasps's unbeaten home run was under serious threat. King tried to put the game beyond Leeds with a drop goal attempt, but missed and the Tykes kept on coming.

The final passage of play saw Leeds win a line-out close to the London Wasps's tryline and with the ball recycled out wide, it was left to Dan Scarbrough to slide in for his seventh try of the season. Van Straaten calmly converted and referee Goodliffe blew his whistle for full time, with the scores at 27-27.

The draw left a sour taste in the mouth for many of the home fans. Leeds did well to come back, but sadly it was another good chance, gone a begging.

Warren Gatland said after the match - I was flabbergasted by his decisions. We are going to make an official complaint to the RFU. I was happy to hear the final whistle. Another few minutes and we would have lost by three points'.

Stand in captain, Rob Howley said - We have for the past six weeks, on average, given away ten to twelve penalties a game. Against the Newcastle Falcons, we gave away more than twenty, and now today it was in the same region. When the man in middle is the same gentleman, you start to ask questions'.

The Men in Black will look upon this game with sheer disappointment and will need to regroup and refocus for next weekend's away clash with the NEC Harlequins. It should be another great local derby.