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London Wasps turned in an encouraging performance to break down a stubborn and well disciplined Glasgow team in their final pre season friendly at Adams Park in this evening kick off.
Glasgow's intentions were written on the wall early, when they tested Wasps in the scrum and at the breakdown, but the home side were able to match the grunt of the Scots in defence and show a physical edge in attack that saw them take a first half lead. Warriors fly half Colin Gregor opened the scoring with a penalty after just three minutes, but Wasps captain John Hart was the first man to cross the try line, putting the home side ahead as the second quarter got under way.
<1R>A second try for Wasps, scored by David Doherty on the stroke of half time gave McGeechan's men a seven point lead at half time, but the start of the second half saw Wasps take the game by the scruff of the neck, scoring four more tries in the next forty minutes to run away with a comfortable 34-8 victory.
It took time for the Wasps assert themselves though, after a jittery start that saw the scrum concede a penalty just inside their own half for Gregor to get the visitors off the mark early doors, and when Walder's restart went out on the full, referee Martin Fox brought the game back for Warriors to attack again into Wasps half.
McGeechan's men finally got into the game when full back Danny Cipriani launched a counter attack that saw Voyce make ground before passing to prop Tim Payne who thundered on into the 22 alone. Although Payne was cut down short by the cover defence, the attack gave Wasps the position to camp on the Warriors line for the next five minutes.
<2>From there they tested the visitors mettle with a serious of short range drives and a try looked imminent, but the Scots were up for the challenge and tackled bravely to repel the waves of Wasps forwards crashing towards their line.
Glasgow survived to clear their lines and launch a series of similar barrelling forward runs themselves, but Wasps showed their defence was equal to that of the visitors before a fabulous territorial kick from Walder gave his side another attacking platform in the Warriors 22. Playing a wider game now, Wasps looked to have finally outstretched the Scottish defence, but though Tom Palmer crossed the line he was adjudged held up.
Finally, after 23 minutes, Hart burrowed over form close range to get his team on the scoreboard. Walder's conversion rebounded off the post, and at the same time Tom French replaced Payne in the front row, the international prop having had enjoyed a good run on his return from a five month injury break.
Doherty looked to be in for his first of the night when Cipriani, again on the counter attack, spotted second row Dan Turner in the defensive line and turned on the burners to glide round the lock and behind the defensive line. However, the recovering Warriors midfield were able to block the pass that would have allowed Cipriani to put Doherty away to the try line.
Instead, Doherty had to wait another ten minutes for his chance. A good kick -chase by former Academy man Thom Evans put Wasps turning defence under pressure in their own twenty two, but the recovering backs showed cool heads to set up a ruck that would allow them to clear their lines. Instead, flanker George Skivington burst out from the fringes of the ruck to gallop into the Warriors half, where the recovering Evans stopped his charge but paid the price by having to be helped from the field at the next stoppage. Skivington's attack gave Wasps field position to attack again, and some slick handling from the midfield saw the ball flash from left to right allowing Doherty a clear run to score in the corner on the stroke of half time, though Walder couldn't nail the difficult conversion.
<3>The start of the second half confirmed that Wasps were by now starting to find their game, and putting together good attacking passages. Regularly finding each other in support, Hart's men were able to take push on and pressurise the retreating Warriors defence with more than forwards' charges. Dynamic attacking runs by Skivington and Haskell round the fringes quickly took Wasps to the Warriors five metre line, from where Walder changed the direction of attack to give Doherty a short run to score his second try, in the opposite corner, after 46 minutes.
Five minutes later Wasps scored again, centre Riki Flutey finishing off the best try of the night when he cantered under the posts for Wasps fourth.
Skivington had again given Wasps the go forward, setting things up a good platform for the backs. Given quick ball Flutey cut back inside, and though he was floored by the scrambling Warrior defence, support was on hand. Tom Voyce sucked in more defenders before Walder's dummy allowed him the dart through a gap and supply Flutey with a simple run to the line and score. However, after covering himself with glory as a main contributor a finisher of the try, the kiwi then hit the post with his conversion attempt from plum in front of the posts.
<4r>At 20 -3 ahead, Wasps confidence was clear to see in the growing flair of their attacking play. However, Warriors were enjoying a rare foray into the Wasps 22 when replacement centre Dominic Waldouck seized his chance to pluck off an interception pass and sprint 70 metres, chased all the way, to score Wasps fifth try in the 66th minute.
Glasgow replied with a try from the restart, lock Andy Newman taking advantage of a slip in concentration from the home side to burst out from a maul and crash over the line.
Wasps responded by stepping up the pressure from their pack, driving over replacement No8 Hugo Ellis for his first senior try in the 73rd minute to round off a pleasing night for John Hart and his side.
<5>After the game, Director of Rugby Ian McGeechan confirmed the feeling of a good job done:
'We are very pleased with the performance of tonight's squad of players. There are plenty of new faces in this group, but they have fitted really well into our systems of play. That is as a result of their excellent attitude and commitment, and the hard work that they have put in on the training pitch in the past week.
'Tonight's performance was a good team effort. Everyone worked really hard and I think we could probably have scored seven or eight tries, but I'm pleased with the six that we got - especially against what was a useful Glasgow side.
Reflecting on the performance of Man of the Match, James Haskell, McGeechan said, 'James has just moved up another level since the end of last season, and I think it is clear to see that he and Danny have seriously benefited and gained a great deal of confidence from their experience with the England squad over the summer.'