Planet Rugby

Wasps strengthen play-off credentials

06th January 2013 17:02

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Christian Wade of London Wasps is tackled by Tom Biggs of Bath

Great try for Wasps: Christian Wade

London Wasps climbed into the top four of the Premiership standings on Sunday thanks to an impressive 29-15 win over Bath at Adams Park.

Two superb tries from Christian Wade and Chris Bell and 17 points from the boot of Stephen Jones helped Wasps move ahead of both Gloucester and Northampton.

Bath made a scintillating start to the game when a superb individual try scored by Nick Abendanon after only 26 seconds put the visitors in front. The England full-back gathered a loose clearance kick on the half-way line before brushing aside several Wasps' defenders to race to the try-line.

A Stephen Jones penalty reduced the arrears before Tom Varndell was yellow-carded for a dangerous tackle on his opposite number, Horacio Agulla.

Bath made the most of the numerical advantage as a powerful forward drive enabled Michael Claassens to snipe in to score in the right hand corner. Stephen Donald's touch-line conversion extended Bath's lead to 12-3.

Two further penalties from Jones and the sin-binning of Bath second row Dominic Day put the home side in the ascendency in this sea-saw encounter.

Wasps' impressive ball recycling and inter-linking play between their forwards and backs allowed Wade to exploit the space and finish off a try of true quality. Jones' successful conversion was the last act of an enthralling first half.

Bath's replacement fly-half Tom Heathcote and Jones traded penalties to leave the game finely poised with 25 minutes remaining. As the game wore on, Wasps composed dominance in all facets was beginning to become more evident as they took control of proceedings.

Bath's soaring penalty-count due largely to the sustained pressure being inflicted by the Wasps forward runners allowed the metronomic Jones to convert his fifth penalty of the game.

Wasps sealed the victory thanks to Bell's try, converted by replacement fly-half Nick Robinson.

In the try-scoring process Abendanon tripped Elliot Daly and was rightly sent to the sin-bin for foul play.

The victory means Wasps have now won their last nine games at Adams Park.

The scorers:

For Wasps:
Tries: Wade, Bell
Cons: S. Jones, Robinson
Pens: S. Jones 5
Yellow cards: Varndell

For Bath:
Tries: Abendanon, Claassens
Cons: Donald
Pens: Heathcote
Yellow cards: Day, Abendanon

Wasps: 15 Hugo Southwell (c), 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Chris Bell, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 James Haskell, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 James Cannon, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Phil Swainston, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Zak Taulafo.
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Tim Payne, 18 Will Taylor, 19 Marco Wentzel, 20 Sam Jones, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Nick Robinson, 23 Andrea Masi.

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Kyle Eastmond, 12 Matt Banahan, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Ben Skirving, 7 Guy Mercer, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Dominic Day, 4 Stuart Hooper (capt), 3 David Wilson, 2 Lee Mears, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Charlie Beech, 18 Anthony Perenise, 19 Dave Attwood, 20 Will Skuse, 21 Mark McMillan, 22 Tom Heathcote, 23 Dan Hipkiss.

Venue: Adams Park
Referee: Andrew Small
Assistant referees: Kevin Stewart, Nigel Carrick
Television match official: David Grashoff
Timekeeper: John Burtenshaw

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