Planet Rugby

Gloucester weather wind and Wasps

04th October 2008 16:15

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Mark Robinson v Gloucester

Opening try: Robinson squeezes over early on

Gloucester gave their EDF Energy Cup chances an immediate boost with an opening 24-19 victory over Wasps at a gusty Kingsholm on Saturday.

Both sides have struggled somewhat in the Guinness Premiership thus far but the hosts will take much from the Anglo-Welsh result with Lesley Vainikolo finding some impressive form.

Wasps were hampered by the pre-game news that returning fly-half Danny Cipriani would not appear from the bench having withdrawn from the game due to ankle soreness.

He is now expected to have his second run-out a week on Sunday when Wasps take on Castres in their opening Heineken Cup group match.

Cipriani landed eleven points against Bath in midweek and the Premiership champions could have used that form again at Kingsholm as Staunton, who kicked 23 points in the 28-19 win over Leicester two weeks ago, was off target in the first period.

Had the Irishman kicked one of his three misses out of four attempts, Wasps would have gone into the break ahead instead of 14-13 behind.

They were, however, first on the scoreboard when scrum-half Mark Robinson was given a neat pass on the left wing 25 metres short of the line from centre Rob Hoadley to go over in the corner past Vainikolo.

But a penalty from steady full-back Willie Walker and 30-metre drop goal by recalled fly-half Ryan Lamb brought the Cherry and Whites back into the game.

And, from a thrust through the middle by prop Alasdair Dickinson into the Wasps 22, Mike Tindall, Andy Hazell and Mark Foster combined to set up a ruck within two metres of the line on the right before Lamb sent over a cross-kick to the left and found England wing Vainikolo unmarked in goal for an easy touchdown.

Eventually, Staunton found his range with an excellent 40-metre penalty after Gloucester were accused of not rolling away from a ruck but that was wiped out almost immediately as Wasps committed the same offence and Walker punished them from 35 metres.

But the Londoners had the final say just before half-time after the hosts failed to clear the ball from near their 22 following a heel against the head.

The ball was charged down as Lamb tried to find touch and, after Wasps attacked through three rucks, eventually flanker James Haskell went through the bodies and stretched to the line.

But Staunton's frailties in front of the posts proved decisive as he finished the match with only two successful kicks out of six attempts, Dave Walder replacing him at the end to boot a third.

And then Walker's second-half try from excellent running and offload from Vainikolo, proved decisive in victory.

Walker finished with a personal points haul of sixteen via three penalties, a conversion and that try as Gloucester took a big step towards knockout stage qualification.

The scorers:

For Gloucester:

Tries: Vainikolo, Walker

Con: Walker

Pen: Walker 3

Drop: Lamb

For Wasps:

Tries: Robinson, Haskell

Pen: Staunton 2, Walder

Gloucester: 15 Willie Walker, 14 Mark Foster, 13 Jack Adams, 12 Mike Tindall (c), 11 Lesley Vainikolo, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Rory Lawson, 8 Alasdair Strokosch, 7 Andy Hazell, 6 Apo Satala, 5 Alex Brown, 4 Marco Bortolami, 3 Dave Young, 2 Olivier Azam, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.

Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 Peter Buxton, 19 Adam Eustace, 20 Dave Lewis, 21 Henry Trinder, 22 Olly Morgan.

Wasps:15 Lachlan Mitchell, 14 Mark Odejobi, 13 Dominic Waldouck, 12 Rob Hoadley, 11 Tom Voyce, 10 Jeremy Staunton, 9 Mark Robinson, 8 Joe Worsley (c), 7 Serge Betsen, 6 James Haskell, 5 Richard Birkett, 4 George Skivington, 3 Pat Barnard, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Tom French.

Replacements: 16 Raphal Ibaez, 17 Michael Holford, 18 Damien Varley, 19 Simon Shaw, 20 Eoin Reddan, 21 Dave Walder, 22 Dan Leo.

Referee: Martin Fox (England)

Touch judges: Andrew Pearce (England), Kevin Stewart (England)

Assessor: Bob Ockenden (England), Graham Hughes (England)

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