Wasps snuff out Bristol's challenge

05th Mar 2007, 13:42

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Dicky Vickery: The England captain looked decidedly unsteady

Dicky Vickery: The England captain looked decidedly unsteady

Wasps put a dent in Bristol's Guinness Premiership ambitions by inflicting a comprehensive 28-0 victory over the West Country side at Adams Park on Sunday, but the Londoners failed to pocket a valuable bonus point.

Wasps put a dent in Bristol's Guinness Premiership ambitions by inflicting a comprehensive 28-0 victory over the West Country side at Adams Park on Sunday, but the Londoners failed to pocket a valuable bonus point.

Wasps, fresh from a humiliating 37-11 defeat at Newcastle last week, had scored only seven tries in their last seven matches but struck three times through England winger Josh Lewsey, Irish scrum-half Eoin Redden and replacement David Doherty.

And the hosts were denied a bonus point when Doherty had a try disallowed for a forward pass in the 78th minute.

Fly-half Alex King contributed a penalty and conversion but missed three other first-half penalties and full-back Mark Van Gisbergen - who took over kicking duties after the interval - landed two penalties and a conversion.

Club captain Lawrence Dallaglio, who apologised to fans on the Wasps website for the display against Newcastle, was consigned to the bench for the first 58 minutes.

By the time he appeared in place of England flanker Joe Worsley, who took a bang on the nose, Wasps were firmly in control at 18-0 up with no need to say sorry to anyone.

They had the best of a less than inspired first half, containing numerous handling errors in the wet conditions.

The Wasps pack kept powering forwards to put the Bristol defence under pressure and their backs produced two cutting-edge tries as they sliced open Bristol.

Lewsey scored the first in the 31st minute, diving over in the right-hand corner following a slick handling move begun by the England duo of Phil Vickery and Tom Rees and continued by man-of-the-match centre Dominic Waldouck and Van Gisbergen.

Lock Tom Palmer - another England choice - provided the pass for the second, created out of almost nothing and finished by Eoin Reddan, who kicked through and showed a fine turn of speed to win the race to touch down.

Bristol introduced new signing Andrew Blowers in the 58th minute but the former All Black flanker could not help to stop the virtual one-way traffic.

There was a worry for England when captain Vickery was felled, apparently by a punch from Bristol replacement Jason Hobson.

Play continued and, while Vickery was receiving treatment on the pitch for several minutes, Doherty charged through the Bristol defence for Wasps' third try.

After Van Gisbergen converted, Vickery - looking decidedly unsteady - was helped off and there will be concerns over him ahead of England's Six Nations clash with France at Twickenham next Sunday.

Bristol, with just one away victory over Wasps in their previous 13 league visits, arrived at High Wycombe with the best travelling record in the Premiership this season but finished a well beaten side.

They did, however, have the consolation of mounting a desperate rearguard action to deny the marauding Wasps a bonus point in injury-time.

Dallaglio was stopped just short of the line and only several last-ditch tackles kept out the home side as they piled on the pressure before the final whistle.

The scorers:

For London Wasps:
Tries: Lewsey, Reddan, Doherty
Cons: King, Van Gisbergen
Pens: King, Van Gisbergen 2

The teams:

London Wasps: 15 Mark Van Gisbergen, 14 Josh Lewsey, 13 Fraser Waters, 12 Dominic Waldouck, 11 Tom Voyce, 10 Alex King (c), 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 James Haskell, 7 Tom Rees, 6 Joe Worsley, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 Simon Shaw, 3 Phil Vickery, 2 Joe Ward, 1 Tim Payne.
Replacements: 16 Raphael Ibanez, 17 Nick Adams, 18 Dan Leo, 19 Lawrence Dallaglio, 20 Simon Amor, 21 James Brooks, 22 David Doherty.

Bristol: 15 Josh Taumalolo, 14 Lee Robinson, 13 Neil Brew, 12 Rob Higgitt, 11 David Lemi, 10 Jason Strange, 9 Shaun Perry, 8 Geraint Lewis, 7 Joe El Abd, 6 Nathan Budgett, 5 Gareth Llewellyn (c), 4 Sean Hohneck, 3 Darren Crompton, 2 Mark Regan, 1 Dave Hilton.
Replacements: 16 Scott Linklater, 17 Jason Hobson, 18 Roy Winters, 19 Andrew Blowers, 20 Brian O'Riordan, 21 Danny Gray, 22 Craig Morgan.

Referee: Roy Maybank
Touch judges: Ashley Reay, David Kurk
Assessor: Paul Bridgman
Television match official: Laurie Bryant