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Wasps hold off determined Gloucester

26 Dec 2005
Wasps hold off determined Gloucester

A superb first-half performance from London Wasps gave them a 32-25 win over Gloucester at the Causeway Stadium.

Wasps scored four outstanding first-half tries, but were forced to defend their line to the hilt after a Gloucester try in ther last five minutes brought the visitors back to within a converted try.

Gloucester’s cause suffered an early blow when they lost former Wasps scrum-half Peter Richards to the sin-bin after five minutes, and the home side capitalised straight away when flanker John Hart burrowed over from close range, and Alex King converted to make it 7-0.

Gloucester responded with a penalty from Ludovic Mercier, but Wasps maintained their dominance scoring a well-worked try after 10 minutes. Stuart Abbott set up the platform before King’s inside pass found Paul Sackey who turned Gloucester fullback Olly Morgan inside out before scoring.

King added a penalty to make it 15-3 to Wasps, before a Sackey break set up their third try. The ball found it’s way through King, Stuart Abbott and Josh Lewey before lock Simon Shaw thundered over. King added the conversion to extend the lead to 19 points.

Gloucester kept themselves in the game with a neatly taken Mercier try in the25th minute, which the Frenchman converted himself to make it 22-10.

Gloucester’s mini revival continued but they were unable to turn possession into points, and Wasps secured a bonus point just before half-time when Lewsey went over in the corner. King’s conversion, followed immediately by mammoth Mercier penalty, made the score 29-13 to Wasps at half-time.

Gloucester started the second-half brightly with the impressive James Simpson-Daniel posing plenty of questions for the Wasps defence.

It was Wasps turn to lose a man to the sin-bin when Tim Payne was sin-binned in the 46th minute for collapsing a line out.

Wasps were forced to reshuffle their back line when they lost King with a wrist injury with 24 minutes to go, and the visitors capitalised on the absence of Payne and King when referee Roy Maybank awarded a 57th minute penalty try. Mercier’s conversion closed the gap to nine points.

The Wasps pack decided enough was enough and proceeded to take the game by the scruff of the neck, and produced a series of powerful drives that resulted in a penalty for full-back Mark Van Gisbergen.

Gloucester winger James Bailey went over in the 74th minute to set up a nail-biting finish but Wasps held them off as Gloucester’s poor away form continues.

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