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Superb Wasps inflict five-try battering on Falcons

15 Oct 2006
Superb Wasps inflict five-try battering on Falcons

Wasps rediscovered their attacking flair to earn a bonus point and put struggling Newcastle to the sword with five tries at Adams Park.

Wasps were forced to hit back from 12-3 down after Newcastle had struck a double blow with tries from England centres Mathew Tait and Jamie Noon.

And they responded with tries from Dan Leo and Tom Voyce while Newcastle lock Jason Oakes was in the sin-bin before man-of-the-match Tom Rees struck to open up a 25-12 half-time lead.

The second half was a far more attritional affair but replacement fly-half Alex King provided the impetus Wasps needed to secure their fourth try, scored by winger Paul Sackey.

And Josh Lewsey rounded off the afternoon as he applied the finishing touch to an 80-metre breakaway try with the final play of the day.

It was just the performance the Wasps crowd had craved after the EDF Energy Cup defeat to Cardiff and a stuttering error-strewn display in victory over London Irish last week.

Boss Ian McGeechan, having having been content to rotate players in the opening month of the season, named his strongest side of the campaign so far.

Mark Van Gisbergen started at full-back, Lewsey was in the centre while Lawrence Dallaglio and Phil Vickery made their first league appearances of the season up front.

Wasps ran the ball clear of their own 22 right from the kick-off and, with Newcastle on the retreat, their powerful pack earned a penalty at the scrum which Staunton converted.

Those three points were all Wasps could muster from 15 minutes of dominance before Newcastle’s England centres struck with two superb tries in the space of four minutes.

Tait, back in the Falcons line-up after recovering from knee surgery, burst on to the inside ball from Phil Dowson and then swerved in-field to beat the despairing dive of Wasps full-back Van Gisbergen and score under the posts.

Newcastle full-back Matt Burke then hit the line on a deep pass from Toby Flood, drew Sackey and fed Noon who scorched down the right wing to score.

Tait and Noon were listed as inside and outside centres respectively but they mixed their positional play up well and will have given England’s watching director of elite rugby Rob Andrew plenty of food for thought with the autumn internationals looming.

Frustratingly for both England and Newcastle, the partnership was cut short after just 29 minutes when Noon was helped off the field with blood pouring from a cut to his head.

At that point it was the last thing Newcastle needed. They had been reduced to 14 men following the 20th-minute sin-binning of Oakes for an offence in a driving maul.

It proved a hugely expensive indiscretion as Wasps scored two tries and turned a 12-3 deficit into an 18-12 lead while Oakes was in the cooler.

Staunton’s second penalty was followed by an excellent try from Leo. Sackey’s offload to Simon Shaw created a breach in the Newcastle defence and Rafael Ibanez exploited it to send Leo in for the try.

Wasps were ruthless, keeping the ball alive and off-loading before contact to stretch Newcastle’s 14-men and again it paid dividends.

Lock Tom Palmer slipped a pass out of the tackle and Voyce finished off the score for his second try of the season.

Staunton’s conversion was waved away even though it appeared to have crept inside the far post – but any fears Wasps had of those two points proving crucial were soon eased.

Oakes had returned but Sackey almost capitalised on a raking long pass from Lewsey – but there was nothing Newcastle could do when Rees straightened onto a pass from Van Gisbergen to score Wasps’ third try.

The Falcons built camp in the Wasps 22 in the opening minutes of the second half but found no chink in the wall of black defenders.

Flood reduced the arrears with a penalty but Wasps were still creating the better chances.

Rees was a threat with the ball in hand and Fraser Waters was stopped inches short of the line.

But it was not long before Wasps secured their bonus point. Alex King, on as a replacement for Staunton, attacked the short side before the ball was spun the width of the field for Sackey to score.

As Newcastle pressed on again in the hope of securing a losing bonus point, Wasps lost prop Peter Bracken to the sin-bin, reducing the game to uncontested scrums for the last seven minutes.

But as Newcastle pressed they coughed up possession and Wasps struck with Voyce launching an 80-metre break finished expertly by Lewsey.

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