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Two-try Palmer powers Wasps to victory

26 Dec 2006
Two-try Palmer powers Wasps to victory

Wasps lock Tom Palmer handed newly-appointed England coach Brian Ashton a timely reminder with a two-try show against Gloucester.

Palmer’s performance helped Wasps get their title challenge back on track with a much-needed bonus point, but the sight of England prop Phil Vickery limping off in the first half took the gloss off the London side’s win.

Gloucester had the best early chance when centre Mike Tindall ran the ball out of his own 22 and fed Luke Narraway, but the number eight could not offload to his support.

Willie Walker then pushed a penalty wide for the Cherry and Whites and Narraway again went close to scoring moments later but was denied by Paul Sackey’s try-line tackle.

Gloucester’s early dominance soon evaporated as Wasps’ England international wing Sackey opened the scoring in the 16th minute.

England flanker Joe Worsley created an overlap on Wasps’ right and fed Mark Van Gisbergen, who put the winger in for his 11th try of the season.

And Wasps doubled their lead before the half hour mark as England lock Tom Palmer dived over from close range to touch down after a textbook catch and drive from a line-out.

Palmer then doubled his haul with a try any Premiership centre would have been proud of – charging down Iain Balshaw’s clearance and galloping to the line despite the best efforts of scrum-half Peter Richards, whose tap tackle couldn’t deny the England man.

The only blemish for Wasps in a one-sided half was the sight of Vickery limping off in between Palmer’s two touchdowns.

Gloucester started the second half on the front foot and Wasps wing Tom Voyce was soon sin-binned for killing the ball just metres from his own line.

Seconds before he returned Wasps’ lead was cut to 14 points when Scottish scrum-half Rory Lawson – on for Richards – scored with almost his first touch of the ball.

England youngster Ryan Lamb made a hash of the conversion but the youngster’s introduction from the replacements’ bench immediately put width in to Gloucester’s attack.

That was the signal for Wasps coach Ian McGeechan to deploy Lawrence Dallaglio from the bench and on 65 minutes his side regained the initiative.

Gloucester’s replacement prop Carlos Nieto was shown a yellow card for slowing the ball down at a ruck and the black shirts poured forward to take advantage of their numerical advantage.

Wasps’ fourth try came with just 10 minutes left when Voyce came off his wing and took Alex King’s pass to scorch through the visitors’ defence.

As Wasps searched for a fifth try they were ambushed by England international Anthony Allen, who intercepted a pass in his own 22 and ran the length of the pitch to score.

However, Wasps’ margin was soon re-established when James Haskell barged his way over for another home try.


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