Wasps 38-26 Glasgow, Heineken Cup, October 17
Wasps return to winning ways
October 17, 2010
Wasps' Joe Simpson dives over to score at Adams Park
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London Wasps got their Heineken Cup campaign back on track with a 38-26 victory over Glasgow Warriors in their Pool 6 clash at Adams Park.
Tries from man of the match Joe Simpson, Tom Varndell, Ben Jacobs and Dominic Waldouck and 18 points from the boot of Dave Walder saw Wasps bounce back from a narrow defeat at the hands of Toulouse in the opening round and breathe life into their euro challenge. An outstanding display from Glasgow fly-half Ruaridh Jackson reaped 21 of his side's points, with Dougie Hall also grabbing a score, but in the end the visitors were made to pay for a largely indisciplined display.
Jackson missed an early opportunity to open the scoring after Wasps were penalised for going off their feet and they were made to pay by the hosts. A strong scrum on the Glasgow 22 laid the foundation for the try, with scrum-half Simpson capitalising with a dazzling break down the short side. The fleet-footed No.9 easily out-paced the cover defence to touch down in the corner to give his side the perfect start. Walder was unable to add the difficult conversion and he was also wide with a long-range penalty soon after as the Wasps pack turned the screw at scrum time.
Glasgow rallied, with John Barclay and Richie Vernon making significant gains, and Jackson rewarded their endeavour with his first penalty of the game after Wasps were penalised for snuffing out the danger illegally. But the home side could take solace from their continued dominance up front, where Glasgow had little answer to Wasps' superior physicality that brought Walder his first penalty. And he had his second just moments later, putting further daylight between the sides.
The Glasgow penalty account continued to test the patience of French referee Pascal Gauzere and resulted in a yellow card for tight-head prop Moray Low. Glasgow won a minor battle at the next scrum in the shadow of their own posts but Wasps immediately won the next against the head to devastating effect. The ball was worked through the hands of No.8 Andy Powell and Simpson before it found Walder, whose perfectly-weighted chip through was met at pace by Varndell for the second try of the game. Walder's conversion hammered home the hosts' advantage.
Glasgow then conjured a swift response to hint that Wasps would not have it all their own way. A strong run from Richie Gray had Wasps on the back foot inside their own 22 and Barclay then opened up the flat defence with a deft chip of his own that Jackson collected for a simple score before adding the conversion. That score appeared to lift the visitors and further pressure from the forwards drew a penalty against Wasps' Dan Ward-Smith that Jackson nudged through the posts to bring his side back to within five points. But their troubles at the breakdown continued to haunt them and allowed Walder to wipe out that score two minutes later.
Having rediscovered their composure, Wasps were soon knocking on the door again and some patient build-up play ended with their third try. The chance looked to have gone when centre Riki Flutey put the ball down in midfield but the bounce went the home side's way and the ball was worked wide to Jacobs, who cut inside before powering over for the score. Walder's conversion capped a superb half for both the fly-half and his side.
The whistle continued to play a central role after the re-start but having addressed their breakdown shortcomings, it was Glasgow who exerted the early pressure and although they failed to breach the Wasps line, Jackson was able to add to his tally with his third penalty. But Wasps were able to cancel out that score with a fraction of the same effort thanks to yet another Glasgow indiscretion - this time an early tackle on Flutey.
The Glasgow scrum enjoyed a little more success, with replacements Dougie Hall and Ed Kalman bolstering their ranks and their presence paved the way for Jackson's next penalty. But as was the pattern of the game, Wasps would soon offer a riposte. A superb long pass from Walder found Flutey at pace and he found support in the form of Ward-Smith, who in turn fed replacement Waldouck and he darted in for the score.
Walder's latest conversion looked to have put Wasps on course for a convincing win but back came Glasgow with a score out of nothing. Speedster Max Evans made the initial incision and when he was hauled down, replacement Henry Pyrgos fed Hall, who showed a good turn of foot to run in from the 22. Jackson added the extras and they were soon pressing again with Rob Dewey and Graeme Morrison powering into the 22. The Wasps defence held firm but conceded a penalty and from the scrum the elusive Evans wriggled free before Morrison burrowed over only to be denied by the Television Match Official.
Good defence from Wasps and a lack of a cutting edge continued to frustrate Glasgow's efforts to rescue something from the game. A crunching tackle by Ward-Smith finally snuffed out their chances and ensured the hosts belatedly got their European campaign up and running.
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Graham Jenkins is the Senior Editor of ESPNscrum.