Planet Rugby

Wasps fightback still on

10th May 2008 17:01

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Wasps Leeds 10 May 2008

Wasps centre Riki Flutey

Wasps continued their blistering end-of-season form by booking a home Guinness Premiership play-off berth with an all-important bonus-point 45-28 win against already-relegated Leeds.

With Bath losing against Gloucester, the outgoing European champions scored six tries in a rampant display as Fraser Waters, Raphael Ibanez, replacement Joe Ward and a treble from England wing Tom Voyce sealed the points.

Wasps will now play Bath in their play-off, with Lawrence Dallaglio still on course to finish his illustrious career with a Twickenham Premiership winner's medal.

Dallaglio's men ended their regular-season campaign with nine wins from their final ten league games and Leeds offered little resistance to halt the Wasps charge.

The visitors did not have it all their own way early on, with the home side opening the scoring with their first foray into the opposition half after four minutes.

Alberto Di Bernardo slotted home a penalty from the 22 directly in front of the posts.

Leeds continued to apply pressure and were again rewarded with a second penalty after ten minutes in an identical position, Di Bernardo doubling the lead.

Wasps continued to look edgy, with the new half-back pairing of Jeremy Staunton and Eoin Reddan failing to dominate.

Leeds stand-off Di Bernardo made it three penalties out of three following the home side's prolonged spell camped out on the tryline.

Wasps struck back straight away - a flowing move seeing Voyce break a tackle and just manage to ground the ball. Staunton's conversion made it 9-7.

The London side began to look more fluent but were derailed as a great interception by Tom Biggs saw him run in an 80-yard solo effort which was converted by Di Bernardo.

A penalty for Wasps on the half hour pegged the scores back to 16-10 before the visitors took control, running in a second try from Voyce on the overlap and a third through outside centre Waters, who cut inside on the left and ran in from fifteen metres.

The subsequent conversion completed the first-half turnaround and took the visitors to a 24-16 lead at the interval.

Wasps picked up the all-important bonus point after 49 minutes, following a surging run and great lay-off by replacement scrum-half Mark McMillan, feeding Ibanez in front of the posts - the conversion by Staunton extending the lead.

The visitors continued to pile on the pressure, with Dallaglio making a series of powerful drives deep into the heart of the Leeds defence.

But the home side cut back the deficit soon after with a flowing move along the backline, which saw replacement Jonny Hepworth going over in the corner after 59 minutes to cut back the deficit to ten points.

Two minutes later, Wasps further extended their lead with a converted try by replacement Ward, who crashed over from close range.

Leeds' spirited resistance continued and a series of back row drives found them in the Wasps 22, with flanker Hendre Fourie finally go over from five metres to bring the home side back within ten points.

With seven minutes remaining, Voyce grabbed his hat-trick when his darting run opened up the Carnegie defence for a simple touchdown - with Staunton adding his sixth conversion.

The scorers:

For Leeds:

Tries: Biggs, Hepworth, Fourie

Con: Di Bernardo 2

Pen: Di Bernardo 3

For Wasps:

Tries: Voyce 3, Waters, Ibanez, Ward

Con: Staunton 6

Pen: Staunton

Leeds: 15 Leigh Hinton, 14 Scott Armstrong, 13 Rob Vickerman, 12 John Holtby, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Alberto Di Bernardo, 9 Joe Bedford, 8 Adam Balding, 7 Hendre Fourie, 6 Jon Dunbar, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 Tommy McGee, 2 Vili Ma'asi, 1 Mike MacDonald.

Replacements: 16 Adam Hopcroft, 17 Rob Rawlinson, 18 Pablo Bouza, 19 Mark Lock, 20 Darren Edwards, 21 Adam Greendale, 22 Jonny Hepworth.

Wasps: 15 Mark Van Gisbergen, 14 Paul Sackey, 13 Fraser Waters, 12 Riki Flutey, 11 Tom Voyce, 10 Jeremy Staunton, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Lawrence Dallaglio (c), 7 James Haskell, 6 Joe Worsley, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 Simon Shaw, 3 Michael Holford, 2 Raphael Ibanez, 1 Tom French.

Replacements: 16 Joe Ward, 17 Tim Payne, 18 Richard Birkett, 19 Rob Webber, 20 Mark McMillan, 21 Josh Lewsey, 22 Danny Cipriani.

Referee: Andrew Small

Touch judges: Alan Hughes, Don Helme

Assessor: Brian Campsall

Television match official: David Hudson

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