Rugby union: Fijians turn on the magic

Wasps 31 World XV 52
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The Independent Online
The second competition for the Sanyo Cup provided a fitting and at times glorious send-off to the domestic season in warm sunshine yesterday. Bob Dwyer had managed to assemble a cast of players from nine countries and with more than 500 international caps between them to take on the Courage League champions. The only minor quibble was the timing of the event, which saw Wasps without seven key players away on international duty.

The first half took time to develop as a spectacle as Wasps' superior cohesion managed to stifle the World XV's more fanciful flights of invention. But despite most of Dwyer's players arriving in London only yesterday, they still managed to get the first score on the board. Waisale Serevi, the diminutive Fijian sevens genius, always looked likely to steal the show and, after linking with Eric Rush and characteristically ball juggling he sprinted over the line in the fifth minute.

Then, after two thundering runs by Jamie Joseph and a couple of risky party pieces from the ultimate showman David Campese, Wasps exerted a measure of control and wrested back the initiative. Gareth Rees stroked a pearl over and then made a surging, diagonal run to link with Kenny Logan, who went in under the posts.

But Serevi was not to be outdone and was soon treating the crowd to his full range of dummies and jinking breaks. Another try had seemed inevitable when the Fijian's initial break was thwarted but the ball was quickly recycled for Serevi to trot over the line with Rush in support.

Campese, however, on what will surely be his last Twickenham outing, was soon once again exploiting his natural affinity with limelight. The ball was flicked out of a ruck after a driving run by Joseph and the Australian winger darted through on the blind side.

Wasps did manage to score one more try in the first half to leave the score satisfyingly poised at 17-17 at the interval. The speedy Logan again exploited the World XV's understandable defensive organisational weakness to burst through on the blind side.

The World XV, who made a mass of half-time substitutions, began to turn on the style after the break. Willie Ofahengaue broke through three tackles to thunder over from 10 yards, but it was the arrival of another Fijian, Marika Vunibaka, which truly electrified the stadium. He twice skipped through despairing tackles to score from distance.

Serevi and Philippe Sella also contributed with two 60-yard runs to put the match way beyond Wasps as a competitive contest.

Wasps: J Ufton; S Roiser, M Hall, L Scrase (A James, 54), K Logan; G Rees (capt), M Wood; W Green (K Dunn, 40), S Mitchell (M Griffiths, 65), A Black, D Cronin (J Worsley, 65), A Reed (R Kinsey, 54), M Greenwood, M White, P Scrivener.

World XV: S Viars; D Campese (M Vunibaka, 40), P Sella (capt), L Arbizu, E Rush (Y Yoshida, 40); W Serevi, G Bachop (B Redpath, 40); G Swart (N Popplewell, 56), J Dalton (J-M Gonzalez, 40), D Theron, O Roumat, H Strydom (M Van Heerden, 27), F Pienaar, J Joseph, W Ofahengaue.

Referee: D Mene (France).

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