Planet Rugby

Wasps still very much alive

12th December 2010 14:54

Share:

Second-half tries from wing duo David Lemi and Tom Varndell saw Wasps turn over the Dragons 23-16 at Cardiff City Stadium on Sunday.

The game, switched from a frozen Rodney Parade, never took off as a spectacle.

But Wasps prevailed through scores by Ben Jacobs, Lemi and Varndell despite producing a performance that fell way below their best.

The Dragons, who led 10-0 and then 16-10, managed an early Ashley Smith touchdown and 11 points from fly-half Jason Tovey - a drop-goal, two penalties and conversion - before slipping to their third successive group defeat.

They also had two tries ruled out by video official Iain Ramage and dominated the final quarter, yet Wasps still headed back along the M4 with four crucial points.

Wasps are two points behind pool leaders Toulouse in the race for an automatic quarter-final place, with the French giants yet to visit Adams Park.

The Londoners have now won five successive games in all competitions, yet they will require a considerable improvement to trouble Toulouse, with the French heavyweights looking well on course for a fifth European title.

The Dragons, without a Heineken Cup win since they beat Glasgow more than 12 months ago, tackled double European champions Wasps without injured Wales forwards Luke Charteris and Dan Lydiate.

Wasps, meanwhile, paraded Wales back-row forward Andy Powell at his old Cardiff Blues stomping ground as they targeted an away success.

But it was the Dragons who came out firing, roaring 10 points clear in as many minutes.

Tovey booted a 40-metre penalty to set the ball rolling, and with Wasps struggling to break free from their own 22, slick passing by Tovey and Wales wing Aled Brew sent Smith over unopposed.

Tovey added the extras, and there was no immediate sign of Wasps stirring as they continued to make errors up-front and behind the scrum.

Walder opened the visitors' account with a penalty after his first attempt hit the post, but the Dragons continued to press as they maintained territorial dominance.

Wasps, though, drew level in enterprising fashion, England lock Simon Shaw turning defence into attack through some superb work inside his own 22 before Jacobs and Lemi combined to take play a further 60 metres downfield.

And with the Dragons on the back foot defensively, Jacobs sliced through a gap to score. Walder converted to make it 10-10, and then kicked another penalty, but only after a Tovey penalty and drop-goal restored the home side's advantage.

Wasps, with full-back Mark van Gisbergen enduring a difficult afternoon under the high ball, strung little together in terms of sustained attacking play.

But they had a reliable points source in Walder, who added another penalty just before the break, enabling Wasps to troop off 16-13 adrift.

The Dragons saw prop Nigel Hall carried off with what appeared to be an ankle injury, and matters then deteriorated for the home side when Tovey was hurt after making an abortive attempt to halt a flowing Wasps move that ended with their second try.

Centre Steve Kefu ghosted through the Dragons defence, and Lemi did not require any second invitation from 20 metres out, scoring with his trademark celebratory dive.

Although Walder missed the conversion, Wasps led for the first time as Tovey was helped off to be replaced by Matthew Jones, who immediately missed a long-range penalty chance.

Tovey's exit hit the Dragons hard, and it proved a cue for Wasps to increase the tempo of a game that had rarely threatened to leave third gear.

A combination of excellent ball-retention and repeated excursions across the gain-line took its toll on the Dragons defence, and Varndell was the beneficiary as he claimed Wasps' third try.

Another missed Walder kick - his fourth from seven attempts - meant the Dragons were still within striking range.

But although they dominated much of the second period, the Dragons missed Tovey's guile, and with Lady Luck also against them the combined product was a Wasps win, albeit after a performance Tony Hanks' team would rather forget.

The scorers:

For Dragons:
Tries: Smith
Con: Tovey
Pen: Tovey 2
Drop: Tovey

For Wasps:
Tries: Jacobs, Lemi, Varndell
Con: Walder
Pen: Walder 2

Dragons: 15 Patrick Leach, 14 Adam Hughes, 13 Tom Riley, 12 Ashley Smith, 11 Aled Brew, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Wayne Evans, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Gavin Thomas, 6 Lewis Evans, 5 Robert Sidoli, 4 Adam Jones, 3 Nigel Hall, 2 Lloyd Burns, 1 Phil Price.
Replacements: 16 Steve Jones, 17 Hugh Gustafson, 18 Ben Castle, 19 Scott Morgan, 20 Hugo Ellis, 21 James Leadbeater, 22 Will Harries, 23 Matthew Jones.

Wasps: 15 Mark van Gisbergen, 14 Tom Varndell, 13 Ben Jacobs, 12 Steve Kefu, 11 David Lemi, 10 Dave Walder, 9 Joseph Simpson, 8 Andy Powell, 7 Serge Betsen, 6 Joe Worsley, 5 James Cannon, 4 Simon Shaw, 3 Ben Broster, 2 Joe Ward, 1 Zak Taulafo.
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Shaun Ruwers, 18 Bob Baker, 19 Marty Veale, 20 Dan Ward-Smith, 21 Nic Berry, 22 Seb Jewell, 23 Richard Haughton.

Referee: Peter Allan (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Andrew Macpherson (Scotland), Rob Dickson (Scotland)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester vs Exeter19:45
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London Welsh14:00
London Irish vs Saracens15:00
Harlequins vs Wasps15:00
Bath vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs Northampton14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 19
Munster vs Zebre19:30
Cardiff Blues vs Ulster19:35
Connacht vs Leinster19:35
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow14:40
Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso18:00
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs Edinburgh16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 19
Brive vs Toulon18:00
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse18:00
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Clermont Auvergne vs Lyon18:00
Castres vs Oyonnax18:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:00
Montpellier vs Stade Francais18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 19
Lions vs Pumas19:10
Saturday , September 20
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs Sharks17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Wednesday, September 17
Southland vs TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Preview
Thursday , September 18
Northland vs Taranaki19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
ITM Cup
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Exeter 20 - 24 LeicesterExeter vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
New Zealand 14 - 10 South AfricaNew Zealand vs South Africa Report
Australia 32 - 25 ArgentinaAustralia vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont AuvergneToulouse vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
Bayonne 23 - 6 Brive
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 31 - 27 PumasGriquas vs Pumas Report
Cheetahs 30 - 30 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
Lions 35 - 33 Western ProvinceLions vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Bay Of Plenty 12 - 27 AucklandBay Of Plenty vs Auckland Report
Southland 36 - 34 Northland
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 12
Harlequins 0 - 39 SaracensHarlequins vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Benetton Treviso 10 - 21 MunsterBenetton Treviso vs Munster Report
Newport Gwent D'gons 15 - 17 Ospreys
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens29
2Bath29
3Leicester Tigers29
4Exeter26
5Northampton26