Planet Rugby

Wasps left with cold turkey

26th December 2008 17:39

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Mark Cueto offload v Wasps

Staying alive: Mark Cueto takes out two defenders and keeps the ball moving

Wasps' pre-Christmas revival came to a shuddering end on Boxing Day as Sale, fired by two tries from Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, rampaged to a 31-3 win at Edgeley Park in the Guinness Premiership.

The Argentinian back-rower crossed twice as the Sharks chalked up four tries and England duo Mark Cueto and Charlie Hodgson also touched down as Wasps could only muster a solitary Dave Walder penalty.

The Sharks were in predatory form, twice pouncing on Wasps errors to erase memories of their last-gasp defeat to Bath last weekend and get their Guinness Premiership title hopes firmly back on track.

Cueto was looking dangerous after eight minutes, fielding the ball on his own 22 before chipping the Wasps line and collecting only to miss the pass outside to David Doherty.

But it was not long before Sale made their pressure tell. Dean Schofield, on the loop, drew defenders before releasing to Neil Briggs who found Fernandez Lobbe to touchdown.

They did not have to wait long for the second score as Cueto cleared to the 10-metre line and, with the ball bobbling towards touch, Wasps academy replacement Chris Bishay jumped over it - not realising Doherty was bearing down on him.

Doherty collected and passed inside to Cueto who showed he still has the pace of old to run in under the sticks before Walder notched Wasps' only points of the afternoon.

Richard Wigglesworth's pass then bounced off Joe Worsley, allowing quick-thinking Charlie Hodgson to collect the ball and dart in under the posts.

Hodgson's penalty extended Sale's lead 10 minutes into the second half as they continued to dominate, forcing Wasps to commit men at breakdown and engineering space for their superior backs to operate.

Sale rang the changes, bringing on Carl Fearns and Andrew Sheridan to shore up the pack, and Dwayne Peel replaced the impressive Richard Wigglesworth at scrum-half.

Wasps tried to muster some resistance, running the ball from deep and recycling it quickly when possible but they lacked creativity and it was Sale who looked more likely to get the next score.

Cueto, on his 28th birthday, was putting in a superb performance, sending England boss Martin Johnson a timely reminder of his ability.

Oriol Ripol, back from a broken arm sustained against Cardiff Blues, also provided a cutting edge for the Sharks in the second half.

Sale pressed for another try in the closing stages, kicking for the corner after Wasps had conceded a penalty 25 metres out.

After holding up one drive the Wasps pack folded at the resulting scrum, conceding the penalty.

While the Wasps defence stood still, Fernandez Lobbe took the quick penalty and dived for the line to notch his second score of the day as the Sharks got back to winning ways in style.

The scorers:

For Sale:

Tries: Fernandez Lobbe 2, Cueto, Hodgson

Cons: Hodgson 4

Pen: Hodgson

For Wasps:

Pen: Walder

Sale Sharks: 15 Mark Cueto, 14 Chris Bell, 13 Andy Tuilagi, 12 Luke McAlister, 11 David Doherty, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (c), 7 Neil Briggs, 6 Jason White, 5 Dean Schofield, 4 Sebastien Chabal, 3 Eifion Roberts, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Lionel Faure.

Replacements: 16 Stuart Turner, 17 Andrew Sheridan, 18 Chris Jones, 19 Carl Fearns, 20 Dwayne Peel, 21 Oriol Ripol, 22 Nick Macleod

London Wasps: 15 Lachlan Mitchell, 14 Chris Bishay, 13 Josh Lewsey, 12 Riki Flutey, 11 Tom Voyce, 10 Dave Walder, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Hugo Ellis, 7 Serge Betsen, 6 Joe Worsley (C), 5 Richard Birkett, 4 Simon Shaw, 3 Tim Payne, 2 Joe Ward, 1 Tom French.

Replacements: 16 Rob Webber, 17 Charlie Beech, 18 George Skivington, 19 Dan Leo, 20 Eoin Reddan, 21 Jeremy Staunton, 22 Mossy Lawler.

Referee: Rob Debney

Touch judges: Robin Goodliffe, Don Helme

Assessor: Brian Campsall

Television match official: David Hudson

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