Rugby Union: More woe for troubled Dallaglio

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The Independent Online
By David Llewellyn

Saracens 33 Wasps 27

Lawrence Dallaglio must have realised yesterday that Wasps season is in tatters after the reigning League champions were swatted aside by pretenders Saracens.

The defeat leaves Wasps three from bottom in the Allied Dunbar Premiership, while Saracens moved four points clear of Newcastle, although they have played three games more.

It was a wonderfully entertaining match and the 12,322 crowd at Vicarage Road certainly got their money's worth thanks to the referee, John Pearson, inexplicably adding seven minutes of injury time, during which period the scoreline was gently distorted.

There was plenty of fight throughout the game, on and off the ball. At times the game threatened to spill over out of Mr Pearson's control. He could take credit for two scores, awarding a penalty try to each team.

Despite the vagaries of his arbitration, both sides managed to rise above it, no one more so than Saracens' blind-side flanker Ben Sturnham, in for the injured Richard Hill.

The 23-year-old's bulky presence smashing into mauls or through the flimsy defences gave Wasps the sort of weight problem they did not need.

Dallaglio, in contrast, had an unhappy time, his mind almost certainly on weightier matters.

Injury and international calls meant Saracens had gone into the game without six of their best (although Paul Wallace, just back from Ireland's heroics in Paris, was brought on for the last quarter of an hour or so) but they were not really missed.

Paul Sampson's try which crowned Wasps revival, bringing them round from 13-0 down to a lead of seven points by half-time was bettered by Matt Singer's superb effort on the hour.

Saracens: Tries Olsen, Penalty try, Singer; Conversions Lynagh 3; Penalties Lynagh 4. Wasps: Tries Penalty try, Sampson, Greenstock; Conversions Rees 3; Penalties Rees 2.

Saracens: G Johnson; M Singer, R Constable, S Ravenscroft, B Daniel (D Thompson, 63); M Lynagh, M Olsen; B Reidy (P Wallace, 66), G Chuter, R Grau, D Grewcock, A Copsey, B Sturnham, A Diprose (capt), F Pienaar.

Wasps: P Sampson; S Roiser, L Scrase, N Greenstock, K Logan; G Rees, A Gomarsall (M Wood, 76); D Molloy (A Black, 76), S Mitchell (T Leota, 70), W Green, M Weedon (A Reed, 76), S Shaw, L Dallaglio (capt), P Scrivener, M White (J Ions, 51-58 and 70).

Referee: J Pearson (Yarm)