Rugby Union: Logan springs to the rescue
Wasps 15 Saracens 15
Thursday 07 January 1999
Alain Penaud, Saracens' French stand-off, might have broken the stalemate, but his 73rd-minute drop goal attempt went the same way as the rest of a deeply flawed contest.
Wasps had already decided on five changes in the wake of their grade A cock-up at West Hartlepool on Sunday, by far the most significant of which was the return of Darren Molloy, a one-man cavalry brigade, to the front row of their scrum.
They were forced into a sixth alteration when Josh Lewsey, their full- back, fell ill in the dressing-room shortly before kick-off; back came the portly Gareth Rees, who must have been a Molloy in a previous life, to fill the gap - something he achieved with plenty to spare.
At the start of the season, Rees was the undisputed goal-kicking king of Loftus Road. That was then, though. A serious hand injury gave Kenny Logan, that occasional marksman from the Scottish highlands, an opportunity to hone his skills in the Premiership pressure cooker, and he continued in the role last night by banging over three penalties inside the opening quarter of an hour.
Slowly, though, the Saracens tight forwards began to squeeze their opponents in all the most painful places; young David Flatman, a teenage loose-head prop learning to survive in a grown-up's world, gave Will Green plenty to ponder and there was the usual inexhaustible contribution from Paul Wallace on the other side of the scrum. As a result, Gavin Johnson was able to atone for an early miss by emulating Logan and squaring the match at 9-9.
Johnson, a paragon of imperturbability, was a hugely reassuring figure at full-back and although he narrowly failed to equalise Logan's fourth penalty with a long-range shot three minutes after the break, he was comfortably the most accomplished back on view.
Much of his work under the high ball on a wet, difficult night was exemplary and when Paul Volley's high tackle on Alain Penaud gave him a further chance to level things up on 54 minutes, he readjusted his radar and stroked over the three points.
Just as he did, magnificently, 11 minutes later. Richard Hill, who endured rather than enjoyed a running battle with Volley from first minute to last, finally escaped the Wasps open-side's attentions to charge down Alex King's tactical punt and when Lawrence Dallaglio fielded the rebound from a transparently offside position, Johnson made short work of a 48m tester.
It would not quite work out for him, however. For all their strength, the Saracens pack had worked themselves on the wrong side of the referee, Ashley Rowden, and he caught them once more eight minutes from time to give Logan a life-saver from in front of the posts.
Wasps: Penalties Logan 5. Saracens: Penalties Johnson 5.
Wasps: G Rees; S Roiser, L Scrase, R Henderson, K Logan; A King, M Wood (M Friday, 68); D Molloy (A Le Chevalier, 46), S Mitchell, W Green, M Weedon (capt), A Reed (S Shaw, 51), E Rollitt (J Worsley, 51), L Dallaglio, P Volley.
Saracens: G Johnson; B Daniel, R Constable, S Ravenscroft, R Wallace; A Penaud, M Olsen; D Flatman (A Olver, 70), G Chuter, P Wallace, P Johns, D Grewcock, T Coker, A Diprose (capt), R Hill.
Referee: A Rowden (Berkshire).
Humphreys fit for Ulster, page 25
Latest in Sport
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a rare opportunity for ...
£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An experienced Fee Earner/Techn...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This law firm is seeking a happy, helpful and ...
£26000 - £29000 per annum + Holidays & Pension: The Jenrick Group: Production ...