Wasps back into the top four

Date published: March 1 2015

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Wasps outscored Gloucester five tries to two in their 32-21 victory at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on Sunday.

The game started in unusual circumstances, with James Hook somehow missing a rather straight forward kick from around 30 metres, a type of penalty he has become accustomed to sending through the posts.

That early kick didn't play on his mind for long though, Hook kicking the first points of the game through inside ten minutes.

Wasps came back soon after and attacked in numbers just metres from the try line, though couldn't force themselves over in their first meaningful foray into Gloucester's 22. And minutes later, the Cherry and Whites showed them how to do it in the form of Ross Moriarty.

A series of passes found their way to Moriarty who jinked under the posts, with Hook adding the extras to put the visitors further ahead, continuing the momentum that they had put together in this early spell.

Hook kicked to the corner and his side set up camp down there as they searched for a second try, but Wasps did well to isolate them and managed to turn over to relieve the pressure and survive those nervy few minutes. And how important that defensive display was because from almost the next attack the Ricoh Arena side had their first try.

Thomas Young was at the heart of it, steaming forward and using the ball well before getting another go on it where he too went under the posts. Andy Goode converted and the scores were reduced to within three points.

The TMO was given his first chance to get involved of the afternoon after a decision on whether a host of Cherry and White shirts had manage to ground the ball was sent upstairs.

It took some time for it to be made, but he adjudged Wasps had just held it up and a penalty was given instead, one which Hook scored. But this intriguing half of attack vs attack continued thanks to Wasps second try of the match.

A Tom Varndell break down the left saw him release Rob Miller who went over in the corner for the third try in 35 minutes, though Goode couldn't quite give his side the lead. But they didn't have to wait too long to get it. Goode's kick was allowed to bounce, and Christian Wade did wonderfully to get a hold of it before ricocheting off a tackle to feed Elliot Daly who got Wasps third try of the half in a scintillating contest.

Goode again failed to add the extra two points, but Wasps took a four point lead into the break. It took almost no time at all for Wasps to follow on from their excellent finish to the half, as they went through for try number four.

Ashley Johnson broke and handed off a host of bodies before releasing Young, who grabbed his second try of the game, Goode converting this time as Wasps seemed likely to score with every attack.

Hook kicked Gloucester back into the game, but with the bonus point secured Wasps needed to ensure they wrapped up the game, not an easy task with the opposition searching for a way back in.

They were almost within a whisker of putting some real jitters amongst the home crowd after they found themselves inches from the line, but this time Wasps defended heroically to keep them out. But it didn't last for long, as Gloucester did finally get a try…only for it to be ruled out. Mark Atkinson crossed the line and it seemed that the scores would be back within a single point, but the TMO stepped in and cancelled it due to an apparent crossing, much to the anger of Atkinson and co.

They didn't have to wait too long to get a legal try though. With 20 minutes left to play, Henry Purdy crossed the line as Gloucester continued to pepper the Wasps backline with attack after attack.

There was still some argument as Wade's tackle had the TMO questioning whether Purdy was about of play, but this one was given, though Hook's kick didn't sail through and the deficit was three points. Goode extended Wasps lead with a penalty, and that crucially took the lead beyond a penalty, with Wasps continuing to keep Gloucester at bay. And what better way to do so than with their fifth try of the game.

Replacement Guy Thompson came off the bench in search of securing the lead, but ended up winning the game with a try that Goode was again unable to convert, but crucially the lead was upto 11 points. And that is how it stayed.

The victory strengthens the gap between Wasps and those sides below them, and crucially keeps them above Gloucester. Wasps incredible start to life at the Ricoh has now seen them pick up four Premiership bonus points wins from four.

The scorers:

For Wasps:
Tries: Young 2, Miller, Daly, Thompson
Cons: Goode 2
Pen: Goode
Yellow Card: Downey

For Gloucester:
Tries: Moriarty, Purdy
Con: Hook
Pens: Hook 3

Wasps: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 James Downey, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 James Gaskell, 4 James Cannon, 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 1 Matt Mullan (c).
Replacements: 16 Edd Shervington, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 Kearnan Myall, 20 Guy Thompson, 21 Piri Weepu, 22 Alex Lozowski, 23 Sailosi Tagicakibau.

Gloucester: 15 Charlie Sharples, 14 Jonny May, 13 Mark Atkinson, 12 Bill Meakes, 11 Henry Purdy, 10 James Hook, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 Tom Savage (capt), 3 John Afoa, 2 Darren Dawidiuk, 1 Dan Murphy.
Replacements: 16 Aleki Lutui, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 Sila Puafisi, 19 James Hudson, 20 Jacob Rowan, 21 Callum Braley, 22 Billy Burns, 23 Gareth Evans.

Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant Referees: Paul Dix, Roger Baileff
TMO: Trevor Fisher

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