Wasps bounced back from their humiliating 37-11 defeat at Newcastle to dominate second-placed Bristol in the GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP on Sunday.
They had scored only seven tries in their last seven matches but struck three times through England winger Josh Lewsey, Irish scrum-half Eoin Redden and replacement David Doherty.
But Wasps were denied a bonus point when Doherty had a try disallowed for a forward pass in the 78th minute.
Fly-half Alex King contributed a penalty and conversion but missed three other first-half penalties and full-back Mark Van Gisbergen – who took over kicking duties after the interval – landed two penalties and a conversion.
Club captain Lawrence Dallaglio, who apologised to fans on the Wasps website for the display against Newcastle, was consigned to the bench for the first 58 minutes.
By the time he appeared in place of England flanker Joe Worsley, who took a bang on the nose, Wasps were firmly in control at 18-0 up with no need to say sorry to anyone.
They had the best of a less than inspired first half, containing numerous handling errors in the wet conditions.
The Wasps pack kept powering forwards to put the Bristol defence under pressure and their backs produced two cutting-edge tries as they sliced open Bristol.
Lewsey scored the first in the 31st minute, diving over in the right-hand corner following a slick handling move begun by the England duo of Phil Vickery and Tom Rees and continued by man-of-the-match centre Dominic Waldouck and Van Gisbergen.
Lock Tom Palmer – another England choice – provided the pass for the second, created out of almost nothing and finished by Eoin Reddan, who kicked through and showed a fine turn of speed to win the race to touch down.
Bristol introduced new signing Andrew Blowers in the 58th minute but the former All Black flanker could not help to stop the virtual one-way traffic.
There was a worry for England when captain Vickery was felled, apparently by a punch from Bristol replacement Jason Hobson.
Play continued and, while Vickery was receiving treatment on the pitch for several minutes, Doherty charged through the Bristol defence for Wasps’ third try.
After Van Gisbergen converted, Vickery – looking decidedly unsteady – was helped off and there will be concerns over him ahead of England’s Six Nations clash with France at Twickenham next Sunday.
Bristol, with just one away victory over Wasps in their previous 13 league visits, arrived at High Wycombe with the best travelling record in the Premiership this season but finished a well beaten side.
They did, however, have the consolation of mounting a desperate rearguard action to deny the marauding Wasps a bonus point in injury-time.
Dallaglio was stopped just short of the line and only several last-ditch tackles kept out the home side as they piled on the pressure before the final whistle.