Pack power sets up Wasps win
Wasps secured the final place in the Amlin Challenge Cup semi-finals after a comfortable win over disappointing Gloucester at Adams Park.
The win gives Wasps a home tie against Bath in the second semi-final of the competition on Sunday, April 27.
Wasps were deserved winners with impressive performances from Nathan Hughes and James Haskell ensuring the home pack was the dominant force.
Hughes set up the first try for Matt Mullan, Carlo Festuccia drove over for the second and late on there was a third for Will Helu. All three were converted by Andy Goode, who also added a drop goal and four penalties for a 21-point haul.
Wasps were leading 23-3 early in the second half but the loss of Hughes to the sin bin gave Gloucester a chance to make a game of it.
They briefly gave Wasps a fright by scoring two converted tries in quick succession before Hughes returned to see Wasps home.
Gloucester's pack, with star number eight Ben Morgan ineffective, were for most of the game outgunned, while among their backs England internationals Freddie Burns, Billy Twelvetrees, and Jonny May failed to sparkle.
The second-half rally produced tries from May, Gareth Evans and Martyn Thomas, with Rob Cook converting all of them and adding a penalty, but Gloucester fell short.
Wasps recalled England forwards Mullan and Joe Launchbury to their line-up after missing last week's league defeat at the hands of Saracens.
Gloucester made four changes from last week's win at Exeter as James Hudson, Henry Trinder and Dan George came in to take the places of Will James, Ryan Mills and Darren Dawidiuk. Mike Tindall was a last-minute withdrawal, sustaining a calf injury in the warm-up to allow Burns to move up from the bench with skipper Twelvetrees switching from fly-half to centre.
Burns made an early handling error, which gave Wasps the first chance for points but Joe Simpson was unable to pick up the loose ball with the try-line only five metres away.
Despite that missed opportunity, Wasps had the better of the opening exchanges and deservedly took the lead when Goode fired over a drop goal. The outside-half should have extended that advantage but he failed with a straightforward penalty attempt.
Wasps continued to dominate and were rewarded with the first try of the game. Number eight Hughes made a couple of powerful runs to put Gloucester on the back foot, which enabled Mullan to crash over from close range. Goode converted but a penalty from visiting full-back Cook kept Gloucester in contention.
Goode restored the 10-point lead with his first penalty before Cook missed his chance to leave Gloucester trailing 13-3 at the interval.
After the restart, Wasps resumed their control and seemed to have put the game out of Gloucester's reach when Festuccia burrowed over to be awarded a try after a two-minute deliberation by the television match official. Goode converted before kicking a penalty and Wasps held what seemed an unassailable lead.
Morgan was replaced by Evans and Hughes was yellow-carded which inspired Gloucester to show some fight. A long pass from Burns gave May an easy run-in for the try which Cook converted which brought Gloucester back to 23-10 at the end of the third quarter.
Hughes remained in the bin as Gloucester scored their second try through Evans and another superb touchline conversion from Cook brought the visitors right back into the game.
Hughes returned to enable Wasps to regain the ascendancy with two further penalties from Goode and a late try from Helu securing victory.
Gloucester had the final, rather insignificant, say when replacement Thomas crossed for a try with the last movement of the match.