In a game that only sparked into life shortly before half-time, Wasps played with increasing authority and no little class to run out comfortable winners over a committed Tykes outfit.
Despite the best efforts of overseas half-back pairing Roland de Marigny and Justin Marshall, the Tykes were eventually overcome by a Wasps side containing too much firepower up front, and too much pace behind the scrum.
The result leaves the Tykes winless after three games, and there is no doubt these are worrying times for Phil Davies and his men. Mark van Gisbergen produced a flawless kicking display for Wasps, collecting 22 points, and giving another nudge to Andy Robinson and the England selectors. Defences dominated the early stages of the game, with both sides pressing hard in defence and forcing handling errors from the opposition.
After van Gisbergen and de Marigny had exchanged two penalties apiece in the opening minutes, it was Marshall who finally brought the crowd to life with a jack-knifing run that saw him step outside Jonny O’Connor and Joe Worsley from the base of the scrum before setting up good field position for the home side.
Wasps infringed from the ensuing scrum and de Marigny edged the Tykes 9-6 in front. Van Gisbergen responded with two more penalties, but just as it looked as if the half was going to end without a try, Leeds struck.
De Marigny took the ball blind and flicked a brilliantly disguised pass inside to flanker Jon Dunbar on the Wasps 22. The big number six showed a fine turn of pace and was only just hauled down short of the line by a combination of Paul Sackey and van Gisbergen.
The Tykes forwards produced the quick ball their backs needed, and Marshall fed Iain Balshaw, giving the England full-back the chance to show the ball outside before stepping the Wasps defence and going in under the posts. De Marigny’s conversion made it 16-12 to the Tykes at half-time.
Wasps struck back soon after half-time through wing Tom Voyce. Alex King placed a clever grub kick behind the Tykes’ defence which Stuart Abbott seized upon, before feeding the winger and giving him a clear run in to the line. Van Gisbergen converted to make it 19-16 to the visitors.
The visitors extended their lead in the 62nd minute when they recycled the ball through several phases, probing at the Tykes defence with some strong running from Abbott and replacement Simon Shaw.
As the Tykes defence lost its’ shape, Matt Dawson made a sniping break from the back of the ruck and popped up a speculative inside ball which substitute hooker Raphael Ibanez collected and fell over the tryline to score.
Van Gisbergen’s fifth successful kick of the afternoon made it 26-16 to Wasps.
Ibanez was again on the scoresheet four minutes later when he got on the end of a move involving fellow substitute Ayoola Erinle.
Van Gisbergen was again on target. John Hart added another late try for Wasps – again converted by van Gisbergen – before Tykes’ replacement Stuart Hooper added a consolation late score.
Paul Sackey’s injury-time try, again converted by the immaculate van Gisbergen, rubbed more salt into the Tykes wounds.