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Dallaglio flies in but Wasps draw with Saints

12 Feb 2006
Dallaglio flies in but Wasps draw with Saints

As both Wasps and Northampton Saints showed the frustration brought on by having depleted squads through international call-ups only Dallaglio – who had touched down at Heathrow only a few hours before kick-off – brought some order.

It seemed tempers were in danger of getting out of control in the opening minutes and the actual rugby did not start to appear until the seventh minute when fly-half Alex King opened the scoring with a 20-metre penalty kick.

A minute later centre Jon Clarke took it upon himself to make a solo run down the left to place the ball down, leaving his captain Bruce Reihana to do the honours with a conversion.

Wasps still looked the stronger side at that early stage but they appeared desperate to stay in the game and were helped along with King’s second successful penalty kick in the 11th minute.

Reihana kicked the ball through the uprights in the 28th minute, giving the Saints some hold over the proceedings.

There was more agony in the first minute of first-half injury time when King, in driving rain, saw his attempted penalty drift to the left of the post.

It was far from a good advertisement for Premiership rugby but both sides were to blame.

Wasps inexperienced players struggled to come to terms with the conditions as they missed many of their international team-mates while the Saints, determined to win at all costs, spoiled the afternoon with their over-aggressive attitude.

Even someone of the calibre of Reihana failed to pull the standard of the game out of the doldrums.

In the 52nd minute found the post from midway inside the Wasps half with a penalty but only minutes before from near the halfway line he watched a strong attempt of his go wide.

However, this was the point when the game started to come alive as Wasps full-back Mark Van Gisbergen penetrated the terrible conditions to slide the ball through with a try in the 54th minute, converted by King.

In the 69th minute Saints went down to 14 men when fly-half Carlos Spencer was sin-binned for a high tackle on King, Gisbergen kicking the penalty.

Reihana scored a long-range penalty in the 73rd minute to put the Saints three points ahead but King equalised three minutes later with a drop-goal.

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