Wasps too good for Gloucester

Date published: December 28 2014

Wasps secured their first Aviva Premiership away victory of the season after they dispatched Gloucester 30-23 at Kingsholm.

The Cherry and Whites started the match in superb fashion and took a 7-0 advantage through Jonny May’s try.

Although they touched down a second time through Matt Kvesic, the visitors were the better side throughout the opening period and crossed the whitewash three times through Christian Wade, Tom Varndell and Nathan Hughes.

Three Greig Laidlaw penalties reduced the deficit in the second half as the hosts improved after the break, but Andy Goode’s second three-pointer and a long-range Elliot Daly effort confirmed the win for Wasps.

After Gloucester’s bright start to the season, their campaign has descended into something akin to last year’s disastrous effort where they finished in the bottom half of the table.

A record 39-16 home loss to Bath only highlighted how disappointing their recent league performances have been, but they opened the game excellently here. Just 40 seconds had elapsed when good hands from the hosts sent May free down the left.

The wing showed good pace and footwork to evade two tacklers and touch down. It was a positive start from the West Country outfit but it was as good as it got for the next 20 minutes as Wasps took control.

Dai Young’s men duly levelled matters when Varndell’s superb break and off-load sent Wade over before Goode took them into the lead for the first time via a penalty.

The visitors’ left wing then scored, taking advantage of a kind bounce, as the Coventry-based club went 17-7 in front.

To Gloucester’s credit, they continued to battle and in the rolling maul, the home side found an effective weapon.

A powerful drive resulted in Kvesic going over and moved them to within three points, but they couldn’t sustain that forward dominance and it was Wasps who resumed command at the break when Hughes crossed the whitewash.

Having struggled to deal with the away side’s pace and power in the first half, the Cherry and Whites were far better after the interval.

Their scrum, with John Afoa anchoring the effort, had their opponents in trouble and they were rewarded for that forward control through successive Laidlaw penalties.

Another three-pointer from the scrum-half reduced the deficit further and a Gloucester victory seemed probable.

But Wasps remained resilient and Goode was again on target from the tee to open that gap once more.

Daly then kicked a long-range penalty to rubber stamp the win and secure a crucial success on the road.

The scorers:

For Gloucester:
Tries: May, Kvesic
Cons: Laidlaw 2

Pens: Laidlaw 3

For Wasps:
Tries: Wade, Varndell, Hughes
Cons: Goode 3
Pens: Goode 2, Daly

The teams:

Gloucester: 15 Steve McColl; 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Mark Atkinson, 12 Billy Twelvetrees (c), 11 Jonny May, 10 James Hook, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 Tom Savage, 3 John Afoa, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Darren Dawidiuk, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 James Hudson, 20 Ross Moriarty, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Billy Burns, 23 Henry Purdy.

Wasps: 15 Andrea Masi, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Ben Jacobs, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 James Haskell (c), 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 James Gaskell, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Edd Shervington, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Carlo Festuccia, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 19 Bradley Davies, 20 Sam Jones, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Alex Lozowski, 23 Rob Miller.

Venue: Kingsholm
Referee: Dean Richards