Mark Van Gisbergen scored two tries as Wasps cruised to a convincing Guinness Premiership victory over Gloucester. The visitors secured a bonus point victory at Kingsholm as three second half tries took them clear.
Full-back Van Gisbergen grabbed two of his side’s four tries, both in the second half as Gloucester, previous Guinness Premiership winners, looked like a team which has lost its way.
National manager Martin Johnson is due to name a raft of replacements in his England EPS squad next week for the November Tests and the injury headaches he has had prior to the first match against Australia were reflected at Kingsholm.
Wasps prop Tim Payne was the only one of seven England squad players fit to start. And, if the injuries disrupted the teams, it showed in the opening half as Wasps led a dreadful game where neither side had a creative clue, particularly so Gloucester.
Former New Zealand fly-half Carlos Spencer booted two out of four penalties in the period but his half-back partner Rory Lawson was awfully slow to distribute ball across the home back line, particularly when Gloucester had Wasps on the rack.
The Londoners, who started the game third in the league, did have a little more about them and grabbed the only try of the period after 14 minutes where the scrum-half Joe Simpson and fly-half Dave Walder combined to give centre Dominic Waldouck a chance to cut the home line. Walder’s accurate kicking added the conversion and sent Wasps in 13-6 ahead via two neat penalties as they did well to frustrate the opposition.
Simpson and Walder sent deep kicks from the rear of breakdowns to force Gloucester into starting attacks again from scratch. And, although Gloucester threatened early after the interval, with ex-England wing Lesley Vainikolo trampling over Simpson in Jonah Lomu fashion, Wasps set down a huge marker by getting a second try and leading a tight match by 12 points.
That score was set by some excellent work from hooker Joe Ward who secured important metres under the home posts before Simpson swung it away for wing David Lemi to send full-back Van Gisbergen over despite some close attention from the defence. Gloucester did manage to mount a couple of other attacks but their failure to pass consistently to hands was the seat of their inability to really threaten.
Wasps made absolutely certain of victory in the last 10 minutes when the outstanding Simpson found a gap through the home midfield and, when tackled 15 metres from the line, found his captain Serge Betsen in support to go under the posts. That made Walder’s conversion a simple task.
Van Gisbergen got his second try and Wasps’ fourth after 78 minutes when he went over in the left corner following a run of 22 metres.