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Wasps 41 Sale Sharks 16

04 Jan 2015
Wasps 41 Sale Sharks 16

Joe Simpson’s double helped Wasps continue their dream start to life at the Ricoh Arena as the hosts secured a dominant bonus-point triumph over Sale Sharks.

England hopeful Christian Wade was the visitors’ tormentor-in-chief, with the winger repeatedly beating defenders with deft footwork to have a hand in tries for James Haskell, Nathan Hughes and Simspon’s first before the interval.

Following a record-breaking performance last time out at Wasps’ new stadium, Andy Goode remained in imperious kicking form to land 16 points in total as the hosts led 27-9 at the break.

Dai Young’s side gained the bonus point soon after the restart through Simpson’s second before Ashley Johnson forced his way over as James Gaskell, Simon McIntyre and Rob Miller tasted victory against their former club.

Despite a late consolation try for Andrei Ostrikov, Steve Diamond’s side were ultimately overwhelmed by a dynamic Wasps performance that ensured their third consecutive victory in Aviva Premiership Rugby.

Wasps started brightly as a break down the right by Wade set up an attacking platform, with Sale penalised for not rolling away and Goode landing his penalty attempt in front of the posts.

Yet the visitors had the chance to level just moments later with Wasps whistled for the same infringement and fly-half Joe Ford – with the in-form Danny Cipriani rested – slotted his effort to make it 3-3.

The hosts responded in scintillating fashion as deft hands from Ben Jacobs set Wade free, with the winger weaving past multiple Sale defenders to send skipper Haskell over in the corner.

Goode added the tough touchline conversion, only for Ford to quickly cut the deficit once again as he landed a simple penalty attempt on ten minutes.

A surging break by Miller then put his former club on the back foot before the full-back and Jacobs combined to split the Sale defence, allowing No.8 Hughes to charge over.

Although Goode duly added the extras to give his side a 17-6 lead, the hosts again conceded a penalty moments later and Ford landed his third kick.

Yet Wasps nearly had their third try after stealing a lineout on Sale’s 22, with Wade ghosting past two defenders to eventually find Tom Varndell but the winger was pulled up just short of the line.

An impressive scrum then saw Wasps push the Sale pack towards their own line and although the visitors held firm, Goode dropped back into the pocket to bisect the posts with a well-taken drop goal.

Another electrifying burst by Wade almost brought Wasps’ third before the winger combined with Bradley Davies to lift up Mike Haley, with the ball popping out for Simpson to scoop up and run in unopposed, with Goode’s conversion making it 27-9 at half time.

The hosts wrapped up the bonus point after just five minutes of the second period as Hughes punched a hole in the Sale line, with Simpson on his shoulder to dance through and touch down as Goode added the extras.

And the veteran fly-half was soon kicking his fifth conversion to make it 41-9 as Wasps set up a powerful catch and drive from a five-metre lineout and Johnson forced his way over.

Both sides took the opportunity to ring the changes as the game approached the hour mark, with Cipriani replacing Ford and Mark Cueto also introduced to try and spark Sale’s back line.

A previously breathless game then entered a subdued period until the final five minutes when Gaskell was shown a yellow card and Ostrikov barrelled over from the resulting maul, with Cipriani converting.

Wasps surged forwards in search of a sixth try but fumbled the ball as they pushed towards the Sale line to keep the score at 41-16 in another emphatic home victory for Wasps.

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