Dave Walder scored 19 points as Wasps closed in on a spot in the top four in the GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP with a 24-19 victory over Gloucester at Adams Park.
The former England fly-half scored a try which he converted and added four penalties. Gloucester battled back from 13-0 down to 16-16 only to be sunk by a late try.
Walder had an early opportunity to give his team a second-minute lead, but drove a reasonably simple 30-metre penalty wide of the right-hand post. But he made amends 10 minutes later, steering over a penalty from left of centre, awarded by referee Andrew Small for offside.
Gloucester’s start was peppered with penalties against, and the sixth, conceded for entering a ruck from the side, was hammered home by Walder in the 16th minute.
When Gloucester did get a shot at goal with only their second penalty two minutes later, Tim Taylor scuffed his attempt badly off the tee.
Wasps took a firm hold on the game with a 24th-minute try, scored despite desperate defence on Gloucester’s line. A succession of drives took Wasps under the posts, and when the ball finally emerged, a miss-pass right by James Honeyben sent Walder crashing through the defence.
Walder then converted his own score, only to see Honeyben limp off with an injured ankle to be replaced by Warren Fury.
Trailing 13-0, Gloucester needed a score quickly – and Taylor delivered with a much better penalty strike on 29 minutes. But Wasps came straight back downfield, and yet another offence at the breakdown presented Walder with the chance to bang over his fourth successful kick from five attempts.
Taylor chipped back another three points two minutes from half-time with a very well struck penalty from wide on the left, and to make it worse for the hosts Fury was sent packing to the sin-bin seconds later for stamping at a ruck.
With David Lemi in off his wing to play scrum-half, Wasps pushed Gloucester back from the start of the second half, and should have extended their lead when Walder shaped up to take a drop-goal shot at the posts only to hook it wide.
And when Fury’s spell in the bin expired, Gloucester had failed to manage a score against 14 men, an opportunity wasted. But they made up for it with Mike Tindall showing his class with a solo try on 52 minutes that exposed Wasps’ defence.
Tindall ran at the heart of the midfield, stepped between the defenders and eluded Mark van Gisbergen before scoring by the posts, Nicky Robinson – on for Taylor – converted to lift Gloucester right back into the match.
Walder attempted to widen the gap with a penalty from near halfway on 58 minutes. He found the distance, but not the accuracy.
Instead, Gloucester pulled level on the hour when Robinson fired over a splendid kick from 45 metres following an offence at a scrum, although referee Small appeared to be the only person in Adams Park to spot it.
But Gloucester lost Akapusi Qera to the bin for tackling off the ball in the 65th minute, and Walder’s penalty regained the lead for Wasps. Robinson’s long-range attempt to tie up the scores again two minutes later sailed wide.
The game was lit up by a superb 71st-minute solo try by Lemi who took a pass wide on the left and accelerated beyond the challenges of James Simpson-Daniel and Olly Morgan to score with a dive by the flag. Walder’s conversion attempt flew across the face of the goal.
Robinson reduced the arrears five minutes from time with a penalty after Wasps collapsed a scrum.