Rugby Union: Off-colour Gloucester suffer travel sickness

Wasps 30 Gloucester 26
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The Independent Online
IT IS now 54 weeks since Gloucester last won an Allied Dunbar Premiership match away from Fortress Kingsholm and, on this evidence, this bout of homesickness will take some shifting.

Wasps - who broke with a modern tradition by not fielding any replacements - should kick themselves. Given the amount of possession and position they won they should have had a hatful on the board even before Gloucester came back, valiantly late in the second half.

In another break with tradition, Gloucester have lost their cherry and white shirts. Ten minutes into the match, Wasps had lost their shirts too. The clash of navy (Gloucester) and black (Wasps) was deemed too difficult to differentiate between, so Wasps had to send to Sudbury for replacements. For the first hour, though, all that the referee, Chris Rees, had to do was see who had the ball (Wasps) to ascertain who was who.

There were long spells when the West Country side were completely out of it. Wasps forwards were immense, for much of the first hour their recycling reached critical mass far too rapidly for Gloucester's liking.

True Gloucester defended heroically throughout, but they were left with a string of errors and "if onlys" to look back on. Fly-half Simon Mannix had an unhappy game. His restarts were poor and he missed critical goal kicks.

Richard Tombs, selected at fullback for his booming kicks out of hand, had a mixed match; he it was who bought flanker Paul Volley's dummy which produced Wasps second try, he then resold it a couple of minutes later when he opened Gloucester's try-scoring account.

Wasps wing Josh Lewsey proved a handful as usual and fly-half Alex King did everything superbly from his 10th minute drop goal to his late breaks. His rich repertoire of subtle passes, sly chips and telling kicks repeatedly turned Gloucester. Even so, when the Gloucester wagon began rolling their centres Joe Ewens and Chris Yates looked a class double act. Shame about the homesickness.

Wasps: Tries Sampson, Volley, Henderson; Conversions Ufton 3; Penalties Ufton 2; Drops King. Gloucester: Tries Tombs, Beim, Deacon; Conversions Mannix; Penalties Mannix 3.

Wasps: J Ufton; P Sampson, R Henderson, M Denney, J Lewsey; A King, B Shelbourne; D Molloy, D Macer, W Green, M Weedon (capt), S Shaw, E Rollitt, P Scrivener, P Volley.

Gloucester: R Tombs; B Johnson, J Ewens, C Yates, T Beim; S Mannix, E Moncrieff (I Sanders, 59); T Woodman (S Simon, 50), C Fortey (J Djoudi, 19-40), A Deacon, R Fidler, R Ward, A Eustace (P Glanville, 60), S Ojomoh, K Jones (capt).

Referee: C Rees (London).

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