Planet Rugby

Wasps hold off brave Edinburgh

05th December 2008 21:30

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Danny Cipriani Wasps

Points: Cipriani bagged twenty points against Edinburgh

Wasps survived a brave fightback from Edinburgh to clinch a deserved 25-16 Heineken Cup victory at Murrayfield on Friday.

Danny Cipriani was the hero for Wasps, as he helped himself to twenty points, kicking six penalties and a conversion to go with Tom Rees' try.

Cipriani arrived in the Scottish capital in arguably the worst form of his fledgling career, having been dropped by his country after error-strewn displays in the opening two November Tests.

But he turned in a near-flawless display with the boot to keep his side's quarter-final hopes alive.

Tom Rees scored a late try for the two-time European champions, who led 12-0 before falling 16-15 behind thanks to the boot of Chris Paterson and a touchdown from Mark Robertson.

Both sides had won one and lost one of their opening two pool matches, while Wasps had won only two of their Guinness Premiership matches this season.

A record Edinburgh crowd of 7,711 for a European or Magners League match turned up hoping for a repeat of the 32-31 thriller of three years ago, which the home side snatched thanks to a last-gasp Simon Webster try.

They were going to need to come from behind again after Phil Godman spoilt a bright start by allowing his kick to be charged down in the seventh minute.

Edinburgh infringed at the breakdown and Cipriani flighted over a beautiful 40-yard penalty.

After a shaky start with the boot, the fly-half - dropped by England after error-strewn displays in the opening two November Tests - began to find his range.

Edinburgh captain Mike Blair wasted a promising position with an ill-advised kick into space which came to nothing, while the home side were forced to replace hooker Ross Ford with Andrew Kelly midway through the half.

Edinburgh were struggling to cope with Wasps' blitz defence, highlighted when they were forced right back into their own 22 despite having the ball.

The penalty was inevitable, much to the fury of head coach Andy Robinson, and Cipriani made no mistake.

The number ten was taking the game away from the hosts, two more pinpoint efforts bisecting the posts as the hosts lost their discipline under pressure.

Neither side had come close to a try but Edinburgh wasted a great opportunity by knocking on after their forwards had propelled them to within inches.

A superb scissors move followed which again threatened the line but this time Wasps infringed and Paterson cut the deficit from in front of the posts.

Edinburgh needed the next score and were gifted two straight after the break thanks to a powerful start which surprised Wasps.

Within five minutes, it was 12-9 courtesy of two Paterson penalties.

Edinburgh were suddenly rampant, running and recycling the ball brilliantly, with Nick De Luca bundled into touch as he looked to score.

The visitors brought on the experienced Simon Shaw for George Skivington at second row and quickly regained the initiative.

Cipriani turned territory into points with his fifth penalty, prompting Robinson to make his own change at lock, Matt Mustchin replacing Craig Hamilton shortly before the hour mark.

This time a try followed, Webster with the initial break before Godman's crossfield kick was claimed by Robertson in the right corner.

Paterson made no mistake with the conversion to complete a remarkable turnaround. But with almost a quarter of the game remaining, there was more drama to come.

Cipriani put Wasps 18-16 ahead 11 minutes from time with a penalty that had Robinson spitting venom at referee Christophe Berdos, who sent flanker Ross Rennie to the sin-bin.

Five minutes later, Godman's 45-yard penalty fell just short. Wasps finally wrapped up victory three minutes from time when Rees bundled over - with the hint of a double movement.

The Scorers:

For Wasps:

Try: Rees

Con: Cipriani

Pens: Cipriani 6

For Edinburgh:

Try: Robertson

Con: Paterson

Pens: Paterson 3

The teams:

Edinburgh: 15 Chris Paterson, 14 Mark Robertson, 13 Ben Cairns, 12 Nick De Luca, 11 Simon Webster, 10 Phil Godman, 9 Mike Blair (c), 8 Allister Hogg, 7 Ross Rennie, 6 Alan MacDonald, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Craig Hamilton, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Allan Jacobsen

Replacements: 16 Andrew Kelly, 17 Gavin Kerr, 18 Matt Mustchin, 19 Scott Newlands, 20 Greig Laidlaw, 21 David Blair, 22 Hugo Southwell.

London Wasps: 15 Mark Van Gisbergen, 14 Paul Sackey, 13 Dominic Waldouck, 12 Riki Flutey, 11 Josh Lewsey, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 James Haskell, 7 Tom Rees, 6 Serge Betsen, 5 Richard Birkett, 4 George Skivington, 3 Phil Vickery (c), 2 Rob Webber, 1 Tim Payne.

Replacements: 16 Damien Varley, 17 Tom French, 18 Simon Shaw, 19 John Hart, 20 Joe Simpson, 21 Dave Walder, 22 Lachlan Mitchell.

Referee: Christophe Berdos (France)

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