Wasps get back to winning ways against Sale

Wasps returned to winning ways with their fifth bonus point victory of the season, to stretch their run of home wins to 16 matches. 

34 - 24
Wasps Sale Sharks

Sun 27th November 2016
2:30 pm

Ricoh Arena Stadium Aviva Premiership As it happened

Three first-half tries, two from MOTM Ashley Johnson, gave them a 22-3 lead at the break. Two tries by Rob Miller then secured the bonus point and established a 34-10 lead, before Sale snatched two late tries of their own. Despite the comfortable winning margin, it was a curate’s egg of a performance, mixing brilliant flowing rugby with sloppy unforced errors.

The opening passage of play, which lasted two minutes, saw both sides hoisting kicks downfield, with Wasps going for length and Sale favouring height. It ended when Wasps were unable to gather a towering effort, but Sale lost the advantage when they knocked on themselves.

Wasps enjoyed their first sustained period of possession when Joe Simpson blocked a grubber kick and did well to gather just before the ball went into touch, a couple of metres inside the Sale half. Wasps moved the ball quickly out to the right, but a flick pass flew into touch on halfway. Sale then won a penalty at the lineout and found touch on the 22. Quick possession was moved out wide and Will Addison chipped through to gather and cross the line, but the referee ruled out the score for a push on Rob Miller as he went for the ball.

A minute later, Sale won a penalty on the Wasps 10-metre line after Kyle Eastmond had taken the ball into possession. AJ MacGinty found the target to put his side in front.

Wasps responded immediately, with an attack down the left which featured a superb  dummy by Thomas Young. He passed inside to Christian Wade, who was tackled a metre short. The ball was moved out to the right, where the forwards were stopped on the line. Further quick possession saw play come back to the left and Danny Cipriani came on an angled run to go through the defence for a well-worked try, which Jimmy Gopperth converted.

The score gave Wasps the confidence they needed and they began to attack with pace and purpose. They came close to a second try, when Jimmy Gopperth stepped inside to feed Rob Miller, who was tackled a few metres short. Quick ball was won, but Christian Wade’s pass out towards Frank Halai sailed into touch ten metres out. From the lineout, Sale tried to run run the ball out of defence, but they were penalised at the breakdown and Gopperth had a straightforward kick to stretch the lead to 10-3, with 17 minutes played.

The Wasps defence was under immediate pressure, when Josh Beaumont charged down Joe Simpson’s clearance just inside the Wasps 22. He was unable to gather and Wasps reclaimed possession to clear to safety.

Christian Wade had been seeing plenty of the ball, but was forced to leave the field for an HIA. This brought Tom Howe on for his second Premiership appearance. Wasps immediately put together a ferocious assault on the Sale line. A series of close-range thrusts were kept out, before Ashley Johnson had the strength to drive through a tackle and twist his way over for his fourth Premiership try of the season. Gopperth’s conversion gave Wasps a 17-3 lead after 25 minutes.

Twelve minutes before half time Christian Wade, with a bandage around his head,  returned to a huge cheer after passing the HIA as Wasps prepared for a scrum on their 22. A minute later a loud gasp greeted a thunderous midfield collision, when TJ Ioane tackled Ashley Johnson. A scrum followed and Wasps were awarded a penalty after the front rows went down. Danny Cipriani’s kick found touch on the Sale 22. A series of phases followed the lineout, before Kyle Eastmond broke the line to take play up to the right corner. The ball was moved back across the field and Ashley Johnson took a pass at pace to crash over. With Jimmy Gopperth receiving treatment Danny Cipriani took the conversion, but his kick came back off the right post.

There was further concern for Wasps, when Kyle Eastmond  stayed on the ground after an elusive piece of running took him over halfway. He received another big reception when he got back to his feet and rejoined the action. He was involved in the final play of the half, as Matt Symons stole a lineout on the Sale 22. After a series of phases, Christian Wade was sent clear on the right. Kearnan Myall was on his inside, but the scoring pass went forwards and the half ended with Wasps holding  a solid-looking 22-3 lead.

Wasps made two changes for the second half, with Alapati Leiua and Will Rowlands replacing Matt Symons and Kyle Eastmond. Two minutes after the restart, Sale snapped up a loose ball in midfield and Bryn Evans broke away down the right, to go over near the corner. AJ MacGinty landed the tricky conversion. Soon after the restart, Leiua sent a long pass out to Christian Wade who made a few metres before passing infield, but he clipped the touchline just before he released the ball.

A powerful burst by Alex Rieder took play deep into the Sale 22, before Will Rowlands slipped a tackle to go close. Wasps came within inches of the bonus point try when a lineout drive was stopped on the line. A scrum ensued but Sale were penalised and Wasps again went to the corner only to lose the lineout and concede a penalty.

Another lost lineout gave Sale the chance to build up some momentum, before Thomas Young skilfully stole the ball to send Frank Halai away down the left. When he was tackled, play came back infield and Danny Cipriani’s well-placed kick found touch deep inside the Sale 22.

Wasps kept up the pressure, but the Sale defence held firm. Further changes brought on Dan Robson, Tom Bristow and James Gaskell for Joe Simpson, Dan Robson and Alex Rieder. Robson made an immediate impact, breaking to the left from a midfield ruck and drawing the defence before delivering a precise scissors pass to Rob Miller, who side-stepped past the final defender to go over by the posts for the bonus point try.  Gopperth added the conversion and barely another minute had passed when Robson again found room round the fringes to go through a gap and send Miller in for his second try. This time, Gopperth missed the conversion, but Wasps were now looking comfortable at 34-10, with 15 minutes left.

Wasps cleared the bench, which brought a Premiership debut for Jack Willis. He immediately did well to gather the restart and make several metres to set up possession inside the 22. Danny Cipriani saw the opportunity to attack from deep but his over-ambitious chip went straight to Bryn Evans, who cantered over for his second try, which MacGinty converted.

Seven minutes from time, Christian Wade limped from the field leaving Wasps to play out the rest of the game with fourteen men. Sale took advantage of their numerical advantage when Mike Haley went over for their third try, with just over three minutes left. Tom Arscott converted to take them within sight of two possible bonus points. With a minute left, a beautifully timed pass by Danny Cipriani almost created a try for Tom Howe, but he was tackled into touch in the left corner. With the clock at zero, Sale took a quick penalty near their line but lost possession inside their 22 and the final whistle blew.

Wasps Line ups

  1. Matt Mullan
  2. Tommy Taylor
  3. Martin Moore
  4. Matt Symons
  5. Kearnan Myall
  6. Ashley Johnson
  7. Thomas Young
  8. Alex Rieder
  9. Joe Simpson
  10. Danny Cipriani
  11. Frank Halai
  12. Jimmy Gopperth
  13. Kyle Eastmond
  14. Christian Wade
  15. Rob Miller
  16. Jack Willis
  17. Tom Bristow
  18. Phil Swainston
  19. Will Rowlands
  20. James Gaskell
  21. Dan Robson
  22. Alapati Leiua
  23. Tom Howe

Sale Sharks Line ups

  1. Ross Harrison
  2. Neil Briggs
  3. Brian Mujati
  4. Bryn Evans
  5. Andrey Ostrikov
  6. TJ Ioane
  7. Ben Curry
  8. Josh Beaumont
  9. Mike Phillips
  10. AJ MacGinty
  11. Josh Charnley
  12. Sam Tuitupou
  13. Sam James
  14. Will Addison
  15. Mike Haley
  16. Rob Webber
  17. James Flynn
  18. Halani Aulika
  19. Cameron Neild
  20. Tom Curry
  21. Peter Stringer
  22. Tom Arscott
  23. Mark Jennings