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Tigers too strong for battling Wasps

With four debutants in the starting lineup, and a fifth on the bench, an inexperienced Wasps side put in a spirited performance, before going down to a convincing but creditable, 34-8 defeat.

Charlie Hayter

Charlie Hayter

Matt Everard

Matt Everard

Wasps enjoyed all the possession in the opening few minutes but were unable to find any gaps in the home defence, who ended up pushing them back nearly 20 metres until they were penalised for not releasing, seven metres inside their own half.

Dan Bowden completely fluffed his kick at goal, which only just made it into the in-goal area well wide of the posts.

Wasps almost found their way through after seven minutes when Tommy Bell’s chip over the defence was gathered by Charlie Hayter, who reached the 22, before losing control of the ball in the tackle.

The first Tigers attack came two minutes later, after Matt Everard spilled the ball in midfield. It was moved out to the right, before being spun back infield, but Thinus du Plessis’s strong tackle forced a knock-on.

The crowd then saw the sad sight of England and Lions flanker Tom Croft leaving the field. Everyone in the game will be hoping that it is nothing serious.

Tigers went ahead after 17 minutes after they turned down a kickable penalty to kick to the corner. They won the lineout and Logovi’I Mulipola, despite being tackled several metres short somehow managed to burrow his way over the line. Bowden added the extra points, from near the right touchline.

Eight minutes later, Leicester should have stretched their lead when they built up an overlap on the left but Scott Hamilton’s wild pass went behind Vereniki Goneva and over his head.

Almost immediately, a Wasps clearance failed to find touch, and Goneva slipped through a tackle to race through the middle of the defence. He had support outside, but a Wasps hand managed to deflect the ball and the danger was cleared.

Leicester then suffered another injury, when lock Tom Price went down just outside the Wasps 22. After a lengthy delay, he was carried off the field on a stretcher.

Play resumed with a penalty to Tigers. This time, Bowden went for the posts, and successfully took the lead to 10-0.

Wasps finally found their way into the home 22, with seven minutes left before the break but a knockon produced a scrum and a Leicester penalty making it the briefest of stays.
Leicester were soon back on the attack, and, with six minutes of the half left, their pressure produced yet another penalty, and an inevitable yellow card with Tinus du Plessis the man being sent to the sin bin.

Leicester took immediate advantage, after winning an attacking lineout. When play came infield, Bowden found a huge hole on the right to send replacement Michael Noone strolling over near the corner. Bowden missed the conversion and 15-0 was how it stayed, until the interval.

Despite still being a man down, Wasps started the second half brightly, with a patient buildup featuring good work by debutant centre Charlie Hayter. Chris Mayor came close, on the left before a penalty at the breakdown ended the move.

With Du Plessis back on the field, the Welford Road faithful were forced to watch their pack being driven backwards at a scrum, ten metres inside their half. Tommy Bell decided to go for goal and his lofted kick just had enough to drop over the bar to open Wasps’ account, six minutes into the half.

Hugo Southwell became the first Wasps replacement when he replaced Tom Howe and Jack Wallace moved out to the wing. A minute later, Simon McIntyre took the place of Tim Payne.

Tigers came within a whisker of their second try when Matt Cornwell slipped through a weak tackle in midfield. Scott Hamilton seemed certain to score, but Jonah Holmes put in a crucial tackle and Jack Wallace got a hand to his inside pass.

Mathew Tait then set the alarm bells ringing, with a perfectly judged chop over the Wasps midfield. He gathered it in midfield with no defenders near him and two teammates outside him, but the somehow managed to waste a golden opportunity.

Rhys Thomas and Chris Bell came on for Nathan Morris and Stuart Commins, with just over 20 minutes left.

Tigers then took themselves almost out of sight,in the 62nd minute, with a fine unconverted try by Mathew Tait. The original movement appeared to have broken down in midfield, but Matt Cornwell did well to gather a loose ball and send a pass out to the left, where Tait came on to the ball at pace, to race in from 20 metres.

A third try followed, five minutes later, after a delightful break by Bowden split the defence, and almost sent Goneva in at the posts. Several phases later, after play had crisscrossed the field, it was Goneva who came on to an inside pass to cross the line. Bowden’s conversion made the score 27-3.

Wasps then put in their best attack of the afternoon with Chris Mayor’s powerful run almost bringing a try near the left corner. The ball was retained, and moved out wide to the right, where Jack Wallace just failed to gather, a metre short of the corner.

By now, all the Wasps replacements were on with prop Harry Williams becoming the fifth player to make his debut. To their great credit, they kept their heads up and were rewarded with a fine unconverted try by Hugo Southwell, after a long pass by Will Robinson took out three players.

Tigers had the final word after Goneva gathered Robinson’s chip, inches in from touch. He passed infield to Scott Hamilton, who made 30 metres, before being swallowed up by the Wasps defence on the 22. Mickey Young darted away around the blind side, to send Goneva in for his second try of the day, which Matt Cornwell converted.
Wasps mounted one final attack, but were denied a consolation try, leaving the final score 34-8.

Wasps complete their LV=Cup pool games next Saturday, when they take on Sale Sharks, at Adams Park, kickoff 2pm.

Wasps team: 15 Jack Wallace 14 Tom Howe 13 Chris Mayor 12 Charlie Hayter 11 Jonah Holmes 10 Tommy Bell 9 Stuart Commins 1 Tim Payne 2 Nathan Morris 3 Will Taylor 4 James Cannon 5 Will Rowlands 6 Tinus Du Plessis 7 Matt Everard 8 Sam Jones (c )

Replacements: 16 T Rhys Thomas 17 Simon McIntyre 18 Harry Williams 19 Dave Hughes 20 James Harris 21 Will Robinson 22 Chris Bell 23 Hugo Southwell

Leicester: 15 Mathew Tait 14 Scott Hamilton 13 Andy Forsyth 12 Matt Cornwell 11 Vereniki Goneva 10 Dan Bowden 9 Sam Harrison 1 Boris Stankovich 2 Rob Hawkins 3 Logovi'i Mulipola 4 Rob Andrew 5 Tom Price 6 Tom Croft 7 Richard Thorpe 8 Brett Deacon (c)

Replacements: 16 George Chuter 17 Jonny Harris 18 Fraser Balmain 19 Harry Wells 20 Michael Noone 21 Micky Young 22 Andy Symons 23 Adam Thompstone

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