Dai Young hails Ashley Johnson as Wasps sting Sale
Wasps director of rugby Dai Young paid tribute to Ashley Johnson after he produced a man-of-the-match performance in the 34-24 victory over a spirited Sale side at the Ricoh Arena.
Now a regular hooker, Johnson reverted to his former position as a flanker and revelled in the role by scoring twice, with former Sharks Rob Miller and Danny Cipriani rubbing salt into the wounds of their old club by adding the remaining tries.
Jimmy Gopperth converted three and added a penalty to complete the scoring for the home side, who are second in the Aviva Premiership standings.
Young said: "Ash was outstanding today and deservedly won the man of the match award. He's a real club man and is happy to play in either position.
"As a flanker, he obviously has a much freer role but his statistics are remarkably the same whichever position he plays."
Despite their bonus-point success, Young was not totally content with the performance of his team.
He added: "I always felt we were in control but it wasn't fantastic. Although we were good in patches, I'm disappointed that we gave away so many points in the second half.
"Sale were a dogged team but the introduction of our replacements caused us to become disjointed."
Wasps were forced into making a number of substitutions because of injury and finished the game with 14 men when Christian Wade limped off with four minutes remaining.
Young explained: "We have to look after our players and a lot of the substitutions were precautionary. Christian has been bothered by a sprained toe and has problems with his foot.
"Jimmy Gopperth tightened up his hamstring; Matt Symons has a foot injury while Kyle Eastmond is possibly the worst as he's picked up a shoulder problem and is very sore."
Sale boss Steve Diamond feared his side were in for a hammering when they trailed 34-10 with 15 minutes to go but they rallied to score two converted tries to make the final score respectable.
Bryn Evans scored two tries and Mike Haley the other with A.J. MacGinty converting two and kicking a penalty. Tom Arscott added a conversion.
Diamond said: "At one stage it looked like we'd concede a huge score but we did well to get back into it.
"Their first try was definitely controversial but fair play to Wasps, they did enough in the first half to put us away and Ashley Johnson is certainly a top-class player.
"A few of the players made too many errors, as they've been doing too frequently in recent games, and we need to eradicate them."