Planet Rugby

Wasps catch Bath cold

29th December 2007 16:50

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Rob Webber celeb Wasps v Bath

Sizzling: Rob Webber enjoys his moment

London Wasps gave their flagging Guinness Premiership campaign a shot in the arm by recording a clinical 25-10 over Bath, the league's erstwhile pace-setters, at Adams Park on Saturday.

And it was England wing Paul Sackey who rightly took the plaudits after scored a landmark 60th Premiership try.

His 30th-minute touchdown saw him overtake Neil Back on the all-time list and he added a second touchdown early in the second-half. Only Sale's Steve Hanley, with 75, now stands above him in the rankings.

Sackey's finishing masterclass was backed up by an early score from Rob Webber while fly-half Danny Cipriani was on target with two penalties and two conversions for the European champions.

The lively Joe Maddock touched down a late try for Bath with Olly Barkley adding a conversion and penalty.

The visiting side's weakened team sparkled in patches but they were short of too many key men after boss Steve Meehan opted to rest nine of the players who thumped Leeds a week ago, including South African duo Butch James and Michael Claassens, and prolific wing Matt Banahan.

By contrast, James Haskell was the only major name rested by Wasps as they welcomed back Phil Vickery from suspension and handed young prop Tom French his first start at home. Tom Rees was ruled out with flu, forcing hooker Webber into emergency back-row action.

Meehan clearly had one eye on the top of the table clash with west country rivals Gloucester next Friday night, raising fears that Bath were facing a defeat of the magnitude of the 47-18 hiding they conceded here last season.

The first five minutes confirmed that and Wasps went on to establish a 20-0 interval lead as the visitors were unable to control the ball long enough to threaten.

Cipriani kicked them in front in the first minute with a penalty from inside his own half and it took only another two minutes for stand-in flanker Webber to strike after Tom Voyce broke down the right and Sackey went close on the opposite touchline.

Cipriani's conversion made it 10-0 before both sides became bogged down in midfield, with Bath unsettled by some aggressive defending despite some bright work from Maddock and Nick Abendanon out wide.

They fell further behind on the half-hour, though, when Riki Flutey's inside break cut Bath open and the ball was shifted right for Sackey to touch down the effort that put him second on the all-time list.

Cipriani stroked over the conversion and then added a penalty three minutes before the break after Danny Grewcock was sin-binned by referee Rob Debney following a scuffle between the two sets of forwards.

The lock was still off the field early in the second half when Barkley finally got Bath on the board with his 30-metre penalty in the 45th minute.

But Wasps were in the ascendancy with Sackey looking for more work. He was rewarded with a second try of the afternoon in the 54th minute when he slid over to touch down a Mark van Gisbergen chip into the corner.

To their credit, Bath defended doggedly after that and replacements Barkley and Isaac Feau'nati added some urgency to their attacking play in the closing stages.

Maddock scored under the posts 10 minutes from time and Barkley slid over in the corner after a brilliant solo run only for Television Match Official Graham Hughes to deny Bath a second try and rule that he had been tackled into touch.

The scorers:

For Wasps:

Tries: Webber, Sackey 2

Cons: Cipriani 2

Pens: Cipriani 2

For Bath:

Tries: Maddock

Cons: Barkley

Pens: Barkley

London Wasps: 15 Josh Lewsey, 14 Paul Sackey, 13 Fraser Waters, 12 Riki Flutey, 11 Tom Voyce, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Lawrence Dallaglio (c), 7 Tom Rees, 6 Dan Leo, 5 George Skivington, 4 Simon Shaw, 3 Phil Vickery, 2 Joe Ward, 1 Tom French.

Replacements: 16 Rob Webber, 17 Tim Payne, 18 Tom Palmer, 19 Richard Birkett, 20 Mark McMillan, 21 Dominic Waldouck, 22 Mark van Gisbergen.

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Joe Maddock, 13 Tom Cheeseman, 12 Eliota Fuimano-Sapolu, 11 Michael Stephenson, 10 Shaun Berne (c), 9 Nick Walshe, 8 Jonny Fa'amatuainu, 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Peter Short, 5 Danny Grewcock, 4 Martin Purdy, 3 Lorne Ward, 2 Pieter Dixon, 1 David Barnes.

Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Paulica Ion, 18 Steve Borthwick, 19 Chris Goodman, 20 Zak Feaunati, 21 Mike Baxter, 22 Olly Barkley .

Referee: Chris White

Touch judges: Paul Dix , Peter Huckle

Television match official: Bob Ockenden, Graham Hughes

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