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London Wasps 43 London Irish 14

15 Sep 2012
London Wasps 43 London Irish 14

Stephen Jones marked his London Wasps debut with an accomplished display as they picked up an emphatic first win of the season 43-14 at the expense of winless London Irish.

The Exiles had conceded 40 points in each of their first two matches, and a second-half collapse meant the same thing happened again at Adams Park.

Wasps had been unfortunate to come into the game without a win and after a very close first half, they took control in the second thanks to Jones and two tries from Tom Varndell, as well as scores from Joe Simpson and Zak Taulafo.

Marland Yarde had crossed in the first half for Irish, while Steven Shingler also managed three penalties but they were well-beaten.

Even the temporary introduction of Shane Geraghty, who finally made his competitive return for Irish as a blood replacement in the first half, did not change things as they conceded four second-half tries.

Jones wasted no time in opening his Wasps account knocking over a penalty from in front of the posts on four minutes.

His opposite number, fellow Welshman Shingler, targeted the Wasps back three early with a series of dangerous kicks from within the Wasps half, however the Exiles struggled to develop any real continuity once they got field position.

But Irish grew into the game, and they could have taken the lead only for Ofisa Treviranus to knock on over the line on 13 minutes after a sweeping move which saw Tom Homer find space on the outside.

From the resulting scrum, a dominant Irish front-row – improved by the early addition of Kieran Low – earned a penalty, which Shingler converted to level the scores.

With Irish at their best when play broke down, Yarde produced a stunning solo effort seemingly from nothing on 27 minutes. The winger attacked the fringe of a ruck, stepping prop Tim Payne before putting the burners on to beat Wasps captain Hugo Southwell and go over untouched.

Wasps looked to have struck back minutes later from a beautifully executed backs move that put Varndell in the left corner, but it was waved off for a forward pass from Southwell.

Jones added two penalties to give his side the lead a minute before half-time with a penalty from just inside the Irish half, but Shingler wiped out that advantage with his long-range effort as Irish led 11-9 at the break

If the first half was tightly-contested, it was the home side who took the initiative early in the second.

With just seconds gone after the break Irish’s discipline again cost them – Jones making them pay for committing another penalty inside their own 22.

Five minutes later Wasps extended that lead – moving the ball wide to Varndell who ran over the top of Homer to finish in the corner, after Christian Wade had found some running room outside Jonathan Joseph.

After the Wasps front row was judged to have stood up, Shingler added a penalty from 30m to keep his side in touch with 20 to play.

However from there the Exiles fell apart and Simpson’s try – from the back of a ruck – all but ended the game as a contest.

Wasps had their tails up and added another through replacement prop Taulafo as their pack began to take control.

And just to cap it off Varndell found some space out wide on the left from a Simpson break to seal the bonus point for the home side – Jones adding the conversion to rub salt into the wound.

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