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London Welsh 15 London Wasps 34

29 Dec 2012
London Welsh 15 London Wasps 34

Joe Simpson’s brilliant individual try sparked a second half comeback that helped London Wasps to an impressive 34-15 win over London Welsh at the Kassam Stadium.

The scrum-half’s searing break from halfway swung momentum back to the visitors and further scores from Tom Varndell, Elliot Daly and replacement Will Taylor earned Wasps their first Aviva Premiership away win since October 2011.

Following a cagey opening and a missed Nick Robinson penalty it was the home side who broke the deadlock, however, in a style familiar to the Oxford faithful.

French powerhouse Franck Montanella got underneath his man at an attacking scrum, and Gordon Ross slotted the kick from 25 metres.

Welsh looked to play through Ross’ right boot and the veteran Scotsman – who leads the likes of Toby Flood and Olly Barkley in the points tally – added another on 13 minutes, before Robinson responded with his own shot from close range.

Wasps drew level with another Robinson penalty, the Exiles’ fringe defence having no answer for the hard-running trio of Joe Launchbury, Billy Vunipola and Ashley Johnson.

Lyn Jones’ side fought their way back into the game and as they did in their previous two home wins began to win the territorial battle, force mistakes from their opposition and let Ross take care of the scoreboard.

He added his third penalty on 23 minutes and knocked over another three minutes before the interval as Welsh finished the half as they started, with a huge Montanella-led scrum producing the penalty that put his side in ahead 12-6.

Wasps cut the lead to three points quickly after the break with another Robinson penalty, before former England scrum-half Simpson lit the game up with an outstanding solo effort to give Wasps their first lead of the game.

Breaking off the tail of a scrappy lineout on halfway Simpson found a gap, put the burners and headed for the far corner. The Welsh cover appeared to cut off his angle, but Simpson stepped off his right foot to straighten, slip two tacklers and dive over.

Robinson was unable to add the extras from a wide angle, but 20-year-old Daly stepped up to hit a long range penalty minutes later and stretch the Wasps lead to 17-12.

Daly crossed himself shortly after to stretch the lead to ten points, finishing off an intricate handling move that saw the usually bruising Johnson show great touch to put his winger over in the corner.

Welsh turned down an opportunity to go to the corner, taking three points and putting them in bonus point territory with eight minutes to go before Wasps put the game to bed and secured a bonus point of their own with two late tries.

First, substitute front-rower Taylor found himself finishing off a series of deft offloads in the right corner, before the more familiar figure of Varndell – stretching his lead as Premiership top try-scorer with his eleventh of the year – went over in the opposite corner on the last play of the game.

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