Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Wasps claim narrow win

Billy Vunipola, centre, scored what proved to be the decisive try

Wasps maintained their unbeaten home record in the Aviva Premiership with a 33-29 victory over a Gloucester side who failed to capitalise on long spells of dominance at Adams Park.

With 20 minutes to go, Gloucester, who missed four penalties, led 17-13, but tries followed from the impressive Christian Wade and Billy Vunipola and enabled Wasps to consolidate fourth place.

Two bonus points for the visitors, who crossed for a pair of even later tries, took Gloucester above Northampton into fifth.

Gloucester had the first chance for points but Rob Cook failed with a long-distance penalty attempt. Gloucester earned reward for their early dominance dominance when flanker Akapusi Qera burst away from a maul on halfway to race 40 metres and send Dan Robson in for the try which Rob Cook converted.

On their first incursion into opposition territory, Wasps got on the scoreboard when Stephen Jones kicked a penalty after the visitors were penalised at a scrum. The score was the catalyst for the hosts to gain a platform in the game and they took the lead when Ashley Johnson finished off a driving maul for a try which Jones converted.

Back came Gloucester with a Cook penalty before surprisingly Jones missed with a simple effort for the Wasps. Gloucester fly-half Ryan Mills then hit a post with a penalty kick from inside his own half while Jones kicked an easy one to leave Wasps in front by 13-10 at the interval.

Gloucester were dealt a further blow when their stand-out performer, Qera, failed to come out for the second half after suffering a neck injury. But within minutes of the restart they should have been back on level terms only for Cook to miss badly with his penalty attempt.

After 46 minutes, Gloucester were deservedly back in the lead when Mike Tindall easily brushed aside a weak tackle from Chris Bell to score the try which Cook converted. A further penalty from Jones reduced the arrears to one point before an excellent try from Wade saw the lead change hands once again. On halfway Vunipola picked up a loose ball to feed Wade; the wing managed to collect the high pass to dash 50 metres for the line, evading Jonny May's tackle in the process.

Jones converted but that was his last action as he was replaced by former Gloucester favourite Nick Robinson. Cook again missed horribly with another penalty before the full-back was substituted with 12 minutes remaining. The disappointment of Cook's misses hit Gloucester hard.

Their heads temporarily dropped allowing Vunipola to smash past two tackles from a scrum 15 metres out for the decisive try which Robinson converted before adding a penalty. Gloucester staged a commendable late rally with two tries in the last five minutes, one from Mills and the other from Charlie Sharples. Tindall converted one to give them two valuable bonus points but the hosts hung on.

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