Return to the London Wasps home page
Match Report

18 May 2008: Wasps v Bath Rugby

Please use the buttons below to see more information on Bath Rugby and matches between Wasps and Bath over the years.

Match Report
Bath's Badge Wasps 21
Wasps's Badge Wasps 10
Fixture Type: Guinness Premiership Venue: Adams Park
Match Date: Sun 18 May 2008, Kick Off: 14:00
Referee: Chris White Touch Judge: Robin Goodliffe
Match Official 4: Andrew Small Touch Judge: Paul Dix

Wasps head to Twickenham

London Wasps booked a place in their tenth final in ten years, despatching Bath 21-10 in front of a sell out crowd at Adams Park

Fraser Waters on his way to scoring Wasps first try

Fraser Waters on his way to scoring Wasps first try

Injury cast it's shadow on the game however, as both Danny Cipriani and Tom Voyce were taken to hospital with ankle and shoulder injured respectively that will rule them out of action at Twickenham in a fortnight's time.

That Wasps made it to the final was a truly heroic achievement, considering the physical toll this match took, and with Bath's much-vaunted attackers hogging the lion's share of possession for much of the match, Wasps were required to perform one of the best defensive displays of the season to contain the visitors.

Emotion was high on the agenda as club captain Lawrence Dallaglio ran out to a standing ovation prior to kick off in his last ever game at Adams Park before he retires at the end of this season.

And the emotion continued to run high as Bath came out from the kick off determined to target Wasps with both barrels of their attacking game. The visitors pack hit everything with ferocity, and the impact of the first scrum eventually forced to hooker Joe Ward to withdraw from the game after struggling on for half an hour with a neck injury.

Bath had all the territory and all the possession, but faced with a Wasps side that had brought their top drawer defensive game to this game, visiting fly half Butch James could not unlock a path to the line for either his offloading forwards or slick running backs. Matt Banahan, Bath's giant Jersey winger, was prominent with ball in hand in the first quarter, and on one notable occasion gathered the ball, picked up a head of steam and ran directly at Paul Sackey in a fashion redolent of Kiwi colossus, Jonah Lomu. Sackey showed a courage and resolve that was reflective of the entire Wasps team however, in standing his ground and bringing Banahan down before springing up to look for the next tackle.

For Bath, things clearly weren't going according to the script. Olly Barkley, who came into the game with a streak of 15 successful pots at goal behind him, missed with both his first two penalty attempts, the first an admittedly tricky prospect, but the second from almost directly in front of the posts in his own 22.

Consequently, supporters had to wait nearly half an hour for the first score, and though first blood went to Bath even that was not of their own making. Faced with a line out on their own try line, Wasps threw long to captain Dallaglio, who just about held on to the ball to set up a ruck. Under pressure, Danny Cipriani swung out a pass from inside his own goal line to the wider standing Josh Lewsey, but when Lewsey fumbled the pass, Bath centre Alex Crockett pounced for the touch down. Lewsey put his hand up to acknowledge the mistake, and immediately got stuck in to some good counter attacking from the re-start to make amends for his error.

And here was the difference between the teams: Wasps attacked ' and Wasps scored. It was probably only their third or fourth period of possession in the game so far, but Flutey's beautifully delayed pass allowed Waters to flash through to the line and draw the score level.

Five minutes later: same scenario, same result. Wasps in possession, Waters runs a grandiose switch to pull the defence, Sackey heads for the corner, and though he is pulled down short of the line, Flutey is on hand to scoop up the ball and dive between the clutches of Browne and Claassens to score.

With Cipriani adding the two conversions, Wasps therefore found themselves ahead at the interval - against the run of play but totally deserving of their clinical attacking efforts.

The second half began with confirmation that Bath flanker Michael Lipman, who had left the field with a blood injury on the half hour, would not be returning to the fray. That Bath missed him was especially clear at the breakdown, where previously Wasps had had to fight for scraps and were now contesting more authoritatively.

The Bath attack continued to misfire though, despite being supplied with a generous amount of ball, and for Wasps the game became increasingly attritional as the casualty list began to lengthen.

Cipriani's injury, which required him to be administered with gas for the pain before being stretchered off, shook players from both sides alike, and the clear severity of the damage to his right ankle certainly took some of the sheen off Wasps eventual victory.

Shortly after, Barkley narrowed Wasps lead to four with his first successful penalty, but just before the hour Wasps turned the screw again, Tom Voyce racing up a blind side before making the ball available for Tom Palmer to crash over for Wasps third try. As Van Gisbergen took the conversion though, Voyce was being helped from the pitch with a dislocated shoulder.

Five minutes later, the departure of Tim Payne meant the game went to uncontested scrums, and when Waters was sent to the sin bin with eleven minutes remaining, Wasps battered 14 remaining men knew that this game was not over.

Camped on the Wasps line Bath bashed away, but the home side stuck doggedly to their task of denying the visitors, whose second half attacking efforts had become more and more error prone under the pressure of the rush defence.

Finally in possession for the last few minutes, Wasps were able to run down the clock and ensure their ticket to Twickenham in a fortnight's time.

For more information and stats on this game, click on the tabs at the top of this story.

For information on how to buy tickets to see Wasps v Leicester in the Guinness Premiership Final at Twickenham on Satruday, May 31st, click here.