Rugby Union: Ryan keeps Wasps well in control

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Wasps. . . . . .14

Gloucester. . . .9

HARD to say precisely why, but after a niggly game Wasps maintained their unbeaten record in National League One. Played five, won five is their tally, whereas poor old Gloucester have got one victory from four games.

Is it the new laws, is it the League or is it a combination of both? Or is it neither? This game was hard fought but uninspiring.

Wasps were buzzing, eager to keep the ball alive, ready to involve as many men as possible. Central to their effort, bloody forehead and all, was their second-row Dean Ryan, their all-singing, all-dancing, all-action man, as international and would-be international forwards are required to be these days.

Wasps kept Gloucester on a tight leash except for one spell midway through the second half. Tim Smith having levelled the score at 9-9, Gloucester hammered away at Wasps' last line of defence. A line-out a yard from Wasps' line, from which Gloucester should have scored, ended in their conceding a free-kick.

Having lifted the siege, Wasps settled the match with the game's only try. The referee, Chris Harrison, who had come in for some considerable criticism from the touchline, allowed advantage when Don Caskie was clearly off-side. Quickly and purposefully, Steve Bates swung the attack to the left. Alan Buzza darted up from full-back, Fran Clough took the attack on and then Chris Oti was able to hurl himself at Gloucester's line, defenders flying in all directions. It was the try that sealed Gloucester's fate, coming as it did with barely two minutes of time left. When times are hard, as Gloucester are finding these days, as one door closes another one slams you in the face.

Wasps: A Buzza; S Pilgrim, F Clough, G Childs, C Oti; A Thompson, S Bates; G Holmes, K Dunn, J Probyn, R Kinsey, D Ryan, F Emeruwa, M White, M Greenwood.

Gloucester: T Smith; D Morgan, D Caskie, D Cummins, S Morris; N Matthews, M Hannaford; P Jones, J Hawker, B Phillips, D Sims, R West, P Glenville, I Smith, B Fawke.

Referee: C Harrison (RFU).

Scores: Pilgrim (pen, 27 min) 3-0, Pilgrim (pen, 31 min) 6-0, Smith (pen, 34 min) 6-3, Pilgrim (pen, 43 min) 9-3, Smith (pen, 49 min) 9-6, Smith (pen, 62 min) 9-9, Oti (try, 77 min) 14-9.