Planet Rugby

Wasps fail to impress in victory

14th December 2008 14:45

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Phil Vickery hands Mike Blair off in the HEC

On the hoof: Vickery goes on a bullocking run

Wasps secured the four Heineken Cup points they needed on Sunday, beating Edinburgh 19-11 at Adams Park, but did very little else.

Dave Walder and James Haskell aside this was a very ordinary Wasps display. They set out with the goal of winning, which they did, but in the process they stumbled around like a wounded animal prolonging its inevitable fate.

Going on today's performance it won't be long before Ian McGeechan's men are put out of their misery. For them to progress further than the pool stages would not only take a miracle, given the way they are playing, but also a injustice, given that Castres and Leinster both look like better sides.

Walder, starting because Danny Cipriani was still recovering from 'flu, held the key to unlocking the Edinburgh defence. Voyce and Lewsey had caused problems earlier on, but it was Walder's incisive run that yielded the first points of the game. He followed it up with a lovely touchline conversion.

That score sparked a prolonged period of Wasps pressure, which ultimately amounted to nothing, but all the time there was the impression Wasps of old were trying to break free. Sadly the careless mistakes, a trait of the new Wasps, plagued their game and put pay to several good opportunities.

Wasps were made to pay for their inability to round moves off, Edinburgh giving them a perfect lesson in finishing. Phil Godman's floated pass saw Ben Cairns beat Dominic Waldouck on the outside break, before finding Hugo Southwell on his shoulder to go over in the corner for a stunning score.

Further chances went a-begging for Wasps, leaving you thinking that the side of old would have kept their composure and taken the points. But this is the challenge to Wasps, to come through this barren spell, with some sense of self-belief, knowing they are up there with the best on their day.

Given the lapses in Wasps' concentration it was hardly surprising they went into the break trailing - despite having dominated much of the half. Godman's penalty enough to send Edinburgh into the break with a one-point lead.

The second half offered little other than more average rugby mixed in with plenty of unforced errors. Nearly every Wasps player, and a few Edinburgh ones too, were guilty of at least two handling errors. Even the introduction of Cipriani, at inside centre, failed to give Wasps that spark they were missing.

Before the game there was a minutes silence for Lawrence Dallaglio's late mother, and with all due respects to the Dallaglio family that set a somber tone for the afternoon as far as the rugby went. You have to ask yourself when, or maybe even if, it will change for Wasps.

Clearly they are lacking in confidence at present, that much is evident from their error count, but there is no denying there is plenty of talent at McGeechan's disposal. But for Walder's kicking and this could have been a very black day for Wasps.

The scorers:

For Wasps:

Try: Walder

Con: Walder

Pens: Walder 4

For Edinburgh:

Tries: Southwell

Pens: Godman, D.Blair

The teams:

Wasps: 15 Mark Van Gisbergen, 14 Paul Sackey, 13 Dominic Waldouck, 12 Josh Lewsey, 11 Tom Voyce, 10 Dave Walder, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 James Haskell, 7 Tom Rees, 6 Serge Betsen, 5 Richard Birkett, 4 Simon Shaw, 3 Phil Vickery (c), 2 Rob Webber, 1 Tim Payne.

Replacements: 16 Damien Varley, 17 Tom French, 18 George Skivington, 19 Joe Worsley, 20 Joe Simpson, 21 Danny Cipriani, 22 Lachlan Mitchell.

Edinburgh: 15 Hugo Southwell, 14 Mark Robertson, 13 Ben Cairns, 12 Nick De Luca, 11 Simon Webster, 10 Phil Godman, 9 Mike Blair (c), 8 Alan MacDonald, 7 Allister Hogg, 6 Scott Newlands, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Craig Hamilton, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Andrew Kelly, 1 Allan Jacobsen.

Replacements: 16 Ross Ford, 17 Gavin Kerr, 18 Matt Mustchin, 19 Simon Cross, 20 Greig Laidlaw, 21 David Blair, 22 John Houston.

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)

Touch judges: David Keane (Ireland), Peter Roche (Ireland)

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