April 23 2011
London Wasps enter the final stretch by hosting Bath at Twickenham on St. George's Day. Last season the visitors got off their marks swiftly with Butch James playing incisively. Wasps failed to make their presence felt until it was too late, going down 35-19.
This season, too, Wasps have fallen off the pace at the sharp end of the season. It's too soon to say whether the malaise was due to lack of foresight from the departing Director of Rugby, Tony Hanks, a lack of investment in playing resources by the owner, Steve Hayes, or a lack of confidence in blooding earlier the young players being given another chance to shine in the late April heat at HQ by "caretaker" Director of Rugby, Leon Holden.
What is clear is that too often this season Wasps have looked uncharacteristically docile compared to similarly matched opponents on a level playing field. How those who witnessed Wasps trips to Newcastle, Edinburgh and Northampton would have wished the team had performed like the one that outfought Toulouse.
Last week's second half thrashing of Leeds might point to the revolution Holden referred to during the week. Messers Launchbury, Vinipola and Daly take to the field to prove his point against a Bath team welcoming back two backrowers but missing a few key players in other positions.
The head says it should be close. The heart yearns for another 35-0 whitewash from a little over a decade ago. Somtimes Wasps do play well in London! Wasps by five...and farewell Mark Van Gisbergen, Dave Walder, and whoever else is playing their final home game for Wasps!
The game is once again dedicated to four charities that support our servicemen. Please give generously!
Wasps: 15. Elliot Daly; 14. Richard Haughton, 13. Ben Jacobs, 12. Riki Flutey, 11. Tom Varndell; 10. Dave Walder, 9. Joe Simpson; 1 Zak Taulafo, 2. Joe Ward, 3. Ben Broster, 4. Simon Shaw, 5. Joe Launchbury, 6. John Hart (Captain), 7. Dan Ward Smith, 8. Billy Vunipola
Bench: 16. Tom Lindsay, 17. Charlie Beech, 18. Bob Baker, 19. Richard Birkett, 20. Serge Betsen, 21. Nic Berry, 22. Mark Van Gisbergen, 23. Josh Lewsey
Bath: 15. Nick Abendanon; 14. Jacques Boussuge, 13. Matt Carraro, 12. Matt Banahan, 11. Tom Biggs; 10. Sam Vesty, 9. Michael Claassens (Captain); 1. David Flatman, 2. Lee Mears, 3. David Wilson, 4. Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe, 5. Danny Grewcock, 6. Ben Skirving, 7. Lewis Moody, 8. Simon Taylor
Bench: 16. Pieter Dixon, 17. Nathan Catt, 18. Duncan Bell, 19. Josh Ovens, 20. Guy Mercer, 21. Mark McMillan, 22. Paul Roberts, 23. Nick Scott