Gloucester battle past Wasps
October 4, 2008
Gloucester's Willie Walker collected the man of the match honour
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Gloucester overcame a stubborn Wasps side and testing conditions to score a 24-19 victory in their Anglo-Welsh Cup clash at Kingsholm.
Wasps coach Ian McGeechan handed Jeremy Staunton the number 10 jersey after rising star Danny Cipriani had worn it in the midweek Guinness Premiership home defeat to Bath. Cipriani was not expected to start today after being absent for four months with an ankle injury. He was originally named on the replacements bench but withdrew before the match because the joint was sore.
He is now expected to have his second run-out a week tomorrow when Wasps take on Castres at Adams Park in their opening Heineken Cup group match. Cipriani booted 11 points against Bath and they could have used that form again today as Staunton, who landed 23 points in the 28-19 Premiership win overLeicester two weeks ago, was off target in the first period.
Had he kicked one of his three misses out of four attempts, Wasps would have gone into the break ahead instead of 14-13 behind. They were first on the scoreboard when scrum-half Mark Robinson was given a neat pass on the left wing 25 metres short of the line from centre Rob Hoadley to go over in the corner.
A penalty from full-back Willie Walker and 30-metre drop goal by fly-half Ryan Lamb brought Gloucester back into the game. And, from a thrust through the middle by prop Alasdair Dickinson into the Wasps 22, Mike Tindall, Andy Hazell and Mark Foster combined to set up a ruck within two metres of the line on the right before Lamb sent over a cross-kick to the left and found England wing Lesley Vainikolo unmarked in goal for an easy touchdown.
Eventually, Staunton found his range with an excellent 40-metre penalty after Gloucester were accused of not rolling away from a ruck but that was wiped out almost immediately as Wasps committed the same offence and Walker punished them from 35 metres. But the Londoners had the final say just before half-time after Gloucester failed to clear the ball from near their 22 following a heel against the head.
The ball was charged down as Lamb tried to find touch and, after Wasps attacked through three rucks, eventually flanker James Haskell went through the bodies and stretched to the line. But Staunton's frailties in front of the posts proved decisive as he finished the match with only two successful kicks out of six attempts, Dave Walder replacing him at the end to boot a third.
Gloucester full-back Willie Walker's second-half try after some excellent work from Vainikolo, proved decisive. Walker finished with a personal points haul of 16 via three penalties, a conversion and that try as Gloucester took a big step towards EDF knock-out stage qualification.
Gloucester: Walker, Foster, Adams, Tindall, Vainikolo, Lamb, R. Lawson, Dickinson, Azam, Young, Bortolami, Brown, Satala, Hazell, Strokosch.
Replacements: S. Lawson for Azam (49), Eustace for Bortolami (47), Buxton for Satala (52).
Not Used: Thomas, Lewis, Trinder, Morgan.
Wasps: Mitchell, Odejobi, Hoadley, Waldouck, Voyce, Staunton, Robinson, French, Webber, Holford, Shaw, Birkett, Haskell, Betsen, Worsley.
Replacements: Walder for Hoadley (56), Reddan for Robinson (47), Beech for French (74), Leo for Betsen (64).
Not Used: Ibanez, Varley, Hart.
Ref: Martin Fox (RFU).
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