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Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Other Unions: Bold Gloucester push Wasps all the way


London Wasps 32 Gloucester 25

LONDON Wasps continued their good form with a deserved, if hard-fought, win over Gloucester at the Causeway Stadium yesterday to keep the pressure on Sale Sharks at the top of the table.

Gloucester have never won away to Wasps in the Premiership and again they headed home with just a bonus point. The visiting team took the game to the champions in the second half but Lawrence Dallaglio, the Wasps captain, was quick to play down an apparent “gouging” incident by Andy Hazell, the Gloucester flanker.

Dallaglio was left with bruising to his face, but he dismissed any suggestion of foul play. Last week Wasps players were accused by the Llanelli coaching staff of targeting the face of Simon Easterby, the Llanelli flanker. “I don’t know what happened,” Dallaglio said. “I can still see and I am not going to worry about it. Rather like I didn’t gouge anyone last week, I suspect no one gouged me this week.”

Wasps got the flying start they wanted as John Hart went over from close range and surfaced with the ball and the five points. Peter Richards, the Gloucester scrum half, had already been sent to the sin-bin for deliberate offside.

Quick hands from Eoin Reddan and Alex King gave Paul Sackey the freedom of the Gloucester defence and he took full advantage to glide through and score. Sackey showed more of his pace down the right wing before the ball found its way into the safe hands of Simon Shaw, who ran in the third try.

Gloucester fought back, showing heart and skill, to send Ludovic Mercier over for a try under the posts. Josh Lewsey, though, restored the gap with a try that earned a bonus point at the end of the half. Gloucester came out much the brighter in the second half, and once Tim Payne had been sent to the sin-bin for taking out Alex Brown in the lineout, they made the most of it.

Pressure from Gloucester at a scrum five metres out forced Wasps into conceding a penalty try and at 29-20 it was game on again. Mark van Gisbergen slotted his first penalty of the game to extend the lead to 12 points, but good work from Olly Morgan, finished off by Paul Bailey, put Gloucester within a converted try of securing a draw. It was frenetic stuff in the closing stages, but Wasps stood firm. Dean Ryan , the Gloucester head coach, said: “I’m proud of a side that pushed Wasps all the way. I think we showed what we were about in the second half.”

SCORERS: London Wasps: Tries: Hart (7min), Sackey (10), Shaw (19), Lewsey (40+1). Conversions: King 3. Penalty goals: King (14), Van Gisbergen (67). Gloucester: Tries: Mercier (23), Bailey (74). Conversions: Mercier 1. Penalty goals: Mercier 2 (9, 40+5) .

SCORING SEQUENCE (Wasps first): 7-0, 7-3, 12-3, 22-3, 22-10, 29-10, 29-13 (half-time), 29-20, 32-20, 32-25.

LONDON WASPS: M van Gisbergen; P Sackey, J Lewsey, S Abbott (rep: R Hoadley, 68min), T Voyce; A King (rep: A Erinle, 55), E Reddan (rep: M Dawson, 40); A McKenzie (rep: J Dawson, 80+2), R Ibañez (rep: J Ward), T Payne (sin-bin, 45-57), S Shaw, G Skivington, J Hart, L Dallaglio, J O’Connor (rep: J Dawson 49-57).

GLOUCESTER: O Morgan; M Foster, J Simpson-Daniel, M Tindall, J Bailey; L Mercier, P Richards (sin-bin, 5-15); P Collazo (rep: T Sigley, 58), M Davies, P Vickery, J Pendlebury, A Brown, A Balding (rep: J Boer, 47), J Forrester (rep: A Eustace, 62), A Hazell.

Referee: R Maybanks.

Attendance: 10,000.

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