A League Match Report: Wasps A go down to Northampton Wanderers

Wasps A were beaten 45-10 by their Northampton counterparts at Franklin’s Gardens despite dominating the middle 40 minutes of their latest A League contest.

They registered tries either side of the interval through Tom Cruse and Craig Hampson, and for much of the third quarter, which was entirely played in Saints territory, a close finish seemed probable.

However, Wasps were already by then chasing the game, since a slow start had allowed Saints to cross three times and build a 24 point lead. 

Wasps’ subsequent failure to turn their post-interval dominance into points then allowed the hosts to kill the match off with three further scores in the final ten minutes.

The star of the show for Northampton was 22-year-old winger Howard Packman, who claimed four of their six touchdowns. The England U20 flier, claimed two scores in each half as the hosts banked a bonus point win.

While the margin flattered Saints, they were the more cohesive side for much of the game, and only really struggled in the scrum.

Samoan centre Alapati Leiua’s return to fitness, was the main positive to come from the match for Wasps. But there were also useful contributions from Hampson, Alex Rieder, Nick de Luca and Will Rowlands, while Jack Willis put in another strong effort at openside.

Packman was on the board for Saints after a Wasps turnover in the first minute, and the hosts were down to 14 three minutes later when tight head Gareth Denman saw yellow for a dangerous tackle.

Sam Olver’s conversion and drop goal extended Saints’ advantage as Wasps’ error count proliferated.

Packman’s second score which followed a long period of Saints continuity, and a driving line-out score for hooker Charlie Clare were both converted by Olver, before Wasps finally sparked into life and drove Cruse over from a close-range line-out.

They then doubled their tally immediately after the interval when scrum half Hampson dummied his way over on the blindside following a line-out maul.

Wasps pressed hard through the third quarter, however after Leiua had a try disallowed they were hit by a Saints treble punch in the closing minutes.

A lovely finish from Packman, whose dancing feet got him in the corner when seemingly surrounded by defenders, started the sequence.

James Wilson, who also converted all three late tries, then charged down a clearance kick and dotted down Saints’ fifth try, before, inevitably, Packman had the last word with a blazing 70 metre diagonal sprint to the visitors’ posts.

Wasps A next take on Worcester Cavaliers in their fourth Aviva A League game on Monday 19th December at Sixways 19:30 KO. With the first team next in action at Saracens on Sunday, before welcoming Zebre to the Ricoh Arena on Saturday 15th October. Tickets are available here.  

Scorers:

Northampton:
Tries: Packman (4), Clare, Wilson
Conversions: Olver (3), Wilson (3)
Drop Goal: Olver

Wasps:
Tries: Cruse, Hampson

HT: 24-5
Attendance: 1208
Referee: Matt Turvey

Wasps A
15. Owain James
14.Tom Howe
13. Nick De Luca
12. Brendan Macken
11. Guy Armitage 
10. Connor Eastgate 
9. Craig Hampson
1. Tom Bristow
2. Tom Cruse
3. Phil Swainston
4. Will Rowlands
5. Marcus Garratt
6. Ali Bone
7. Jack Willis 
8. Alex Rieder 

Replacements 
16. George Edgson 
17. Jarod Leat 
18. Will Stuart
19. Ehize Ehizode
20. Tom Willis 
21. Alex Smit 
22. Alapati Leiua
23. Jacob Umaga

Northampton Wanderers
15. Ahsee Tuala
14. Howard Packman
13. Nafi Tuitavake
12. James Wilson
11. Tom Collins 
10. Sam Olver
9. Alex Mitchell
1. Campese Ma'afu
2. Charlie Clare
3. Gareth Denman
4. Api Ratuniyarawa
5. Jordan Onojaife
6. Sion Bennett
7. Lewis Ludlam
8. Sam Dickinson

Replacements 
16. Reece Marshall
17. Ethan Waller
18. Adam Parkins/ Matt Beesley 
19. Alex Moon
20. Devante Onojaife
21. Tom Emery
22. Juan Pablo Estelles
23. George Furbank