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Welsh v Wasps - Official Report

Tom Varndell

By Wasps Offy
April 15 2015

Wasps get maximum haul at the Kassam With a Tom Varndell hat-trick leading the way, Wasps secured the bonus-point win they needed to keep up their challenge for a top-six finish.

After scoring two tries in thirteen minutes, they failed to capitalise on their advantage. 12-5 up at the break, they were pulled back to 12-8, early in the second half, before going up a gear and running in three tries in quick succession, to make the game safe.

Playing into a strong breeze, Wasps made their intentions clear from the start, running  the ball at every opportunity. With just over a minute gone, Guy Thompson burst through a gap, inside the Wasps 22. He reached the 22, before finding Tom Varndell in support. The winger was stopped just short, and lost the ball in contact.

Two minutes later, Elliot Daly and Thomas Young combined to send Varndell over in the right corner. Andy Goode landed a magnificent conversion, from the touchline.

On ten minutes, the Welsh hooker, Koree Britton was shown a yellow card, after a series of penalties near the home line. Wasps then squandered an excellent position, when Guy Thompson lost possession after winning a lineout near the left corner. The Wasps pack made immediate  amends, by winning the Welsh scrum. With a huge overlap out on the right, the ball was moved along the line and Varndell strolled over for his second try of the afternoon. Goode had another difficult conversion, which dropped just wide.

Wasps were unable to add to their score, while Welsh were down to 14 men. Within minutes of Britton’s return, Welsh kicked a penalty to the corner and Opeti Fonua finished off a catch and drive to go over for a well-deserved try. Tristan Roberts missed the conversion, but Welsh were soon back on the attack, after they stole a Wasps scrum, just inside their own half. Fonua charged downfield and sustained pressure  almost brought a try for Nathan Trevett.

After almost losing another scrum in the same position, Wasps finally brought a little more order to their game, with a well-constructed attack set up by good work from Elliot Daly, out wide on the left. He charged down a kick, controlled the ball well and moved it infield, where James Haskell burst into the 22. Welsh were penalised and Wasps chose to kick to the corner, only to lose the lineout. They then set up another good attacking opportunity, but Haskell knocked on, 35 metres out.

Halftime came with Wasps still 12-5 ahead, but looking nothing like the team which had started the game so well.

Wasps applied the early second half pressure, with a series of lineouts near the left corner. From one, Andy Goode chipped over the defence and Alapati Leiua just failed to get the touchdown, before the ball went dead.  The centre then almost found his way through the defence, but  Wasps eventually conceded a penalty and the home side were able to lift the siege. Another penalty took them into the Wasps 22, where a breakdown offence gave them a simple three points, kicked by Will Robinson, to narrow the gap to 12-8.

Wasps made their first replacement on 50 minutes, with Carlo Festuccia coming into the front row. Ashley Johnson moved into the back row, with Thomas Young leaving the field. The change paid immediate dividends, as Wasps won a lineout and a catch and drive ended with Johnson crossing for a much-needed try. Goode landed a fine touchline conversion, to give Wasps a 19-8 lead. They then came close to the fourth try, when Guy Thompson burst through midfield and found Alapati Leiua in support, but the move came to nothing.

The bonus point came just before the hour, when a flowing move ended with Tom Varndell completing his hattrick, after receiving an exquisite offload from Elliot Daly, to send him away down a narrow corridor on the right touchline.

Welsh refused to lie down and came back with an unconverted try by former Wasp Chris Elder. This produced an immediate response from Wasps, with Sailosi Tagicakibau going over for their fifth try, by the posts. Goode converted, to take the lead to 33-13, before making way for Alex Lozowski.

Ten minutes from time, Wasps were reduced to 14 men, when Carlo Festuccia was sent to  the sin bin, for a swinging arm in the tackle that caught Will Robinson in the jaw.

With the clock at zero, Welsh tried to keep the ball alive, in search of a consolation try, but they conceded a turnover. Sailosi Tagicakibau broke away down the left, play came back infield  and Alapatia Leiua jinked through a gap to cross for his side’s sixth try. Alex Lozowski’s conversion made the final score 40-13. 




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