Anthony Allen showed why GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP leaders Gloucester were so thrilled when England chose to send him back last week.
The 20-year-old centre scored a superbly-crafted solo try to steer the game away from Wasps in front of a sell-out Kingsholm.
He opened up plenty of gaps in his partnership with Mike Tindall, who made his first start after finally shaking off his calf injury, while Willie Walker slotted six of his seven kicks at goal.
Simon Amor’s return to Gloucester lasted only 17 minutes after the Wasps’ scrum-half failed to shake off a blow to his shin in the opening phases of the game.
With Eoin Reddan rested following his outing with Ireland A, Amor was replaced by Mark McMillan who immediately got his side surging forward.
Catching Gloucester short of numbers, Wasps countered from a five-metre line-out. Hooker Joe Ward was involved twice, keeping pace with England winger Tom Voyce as the ball was hurried down the left touchline and taken over for the try by blindside flanker James Haskell. Mark Van Gisbergen slotted the conversion.
It was the proof that Wasps require very little possession to damage opponents. They had spent much of the previous 12 minutes defending their 22 under pressure from searching kicks by Walker and Ryan Lamb.
Their scrum could not cope with Gloucester’s wily front row and Tim Payne spent so much time heading south that he was driven to tantrums by the guile of former France prop Christian Califano.
But once they had the first try on the board, Wasps started to find more space to exploit. Their rush defence quelled so much of the Cherry and Whites’ intent and they overshadowed the home side’s passion with a clinically tight approach.
Inevitably in a game of this intensity, discipline levels took a hit for a few minutes midway through the first half when both sides lost men to the sinbin.
Alex Brown was first off for killing the ball then Jonny O’Connor was dispatched for taking Lamb out without the ball.
The incidents reaped a penalty apiece for Van Gisbergen and Walker, but those were the only points conceded while both sides were down 14 men.
For all their prowess in the open field, Wasps could not get a handle on the scrum and another nosedive by Payne gifted Walker his second penalty.
The New Zealander struck two more penalties either side of half-time to nudge Gloucester in front for the first time.
Suddenly the home side were moving far more quickly through the phases and Wasps were confounded by their own errors.
Luke Narraway and Peter Buxton helped out when James Simpson-Daniel raced clear and James Bailey gathered the ball to dive over for Gloucester’s first try in the 56th minute.
Two minutes later Allen scooped up a knock-on, slipped away from Dave Walder and beat Ed Thrower for pace to the line.
Walker added the extras, and then cancelled out another Van Gisbergen penalty.
Wasps clawed their way back when Ward crashed over and Van Gisbergen added his third penalty to claim a losing bonus point.