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Sale fail to fight off Wasps’ attack

04 Jan 2004
Sale fail to fight off Wasps’ attack

Wasps' England contingent have become used to the limelight of late, and Dallaglio and Simon Shaw mopped up the home crowd's applause after crossing the line for tries.

Not to be outdone, fellow Rugby World Cup winner Joe Worsley scooped the man of the match award for an industrious afternoon's work.

But it was Worsley's partner on the flank who got the scoring underway in the 21st minute.  

Paul Volley crossed the line after a neat back row move involving Dallaglio and Rob Howley.

The former Wales man sent Mark Denny loose with a well-timed pass, the centre got held up short of the line and – after an initial drive by Craig Dowd – the ball was recycled into Volley's hands for the score.

Dowd wanted more than an 'assist', and the evergreen former All Black forced his way over the line soon after but referee Tony Spreadbury ruled the ball had been held up.

The immense forward power of Wasps was starting to pay dividends, and Dallaglio made full use of his side's superiority in this department by taking the ball from the base of the scrum and brushed off a challenge from Jason White on his way to the line. Outside the battle of the packs, the meeting of fly-halves Alex King and Charlie Hodgson would have given Sir Clive plenty to think about.

The two players were denied the chance to understudy Jonny Wilkinson during the World Cup, and took Sunday's game as an opportunity to air their wears.

Give the mighty Wasps pack, King had far more chance to impress than Hodgson – but neither showed the kicking prowess to worry the present incumbent of England's No. 10 shirt.

Hodgson miss an early sitter but made amends with his other two kicks, while King finished with four from seven.

But it was Hodgson – as ever – who had the vision to ignite the Sharks' attack, and the visitor's inability to get across the try-line had more to do with Wasps' well-marshaled defence then from lack of effort.

When Sale did strike early in the second-half it was Hodgson who sent lock Chris Jones charging in for a try.

Sale should have drawn level three minutes later but, with Wasps at full-stretch, Mark Cueto threw out a forward pass to flanker Stuart Pinkerton and the chance was gone.

Wasps reasserted their grip on the game as Sale conceded penalties which King was only to happy to punish.

Later, a magical run by winger Josh Lewsey created an opening down the right and Shaw, on his shoulder, managed to force his way over for a late try.

Wasps threw everything into attack in the search for a fourth try which would have secured them a bonus point but were denied as Shaw, popping up on the left wing this time, was forced into touch only inches from the line.

The Scorers:

For London Wasps:Tries: Volley, Dallaglio, Shaw.Con: KingPens: King 3

For Sale Sharks:Try: JonesCon: HodgsonPen: Hodgson

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