Cipriani bang on target to serve notice of intent

Wasps 36 Leicester 29
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The Independent Online

There may be confusion about whether Danny Cipriani has signed a one-year contract with Wasps or not, but the way he signed off the first half for Wasps yesterday evening suggested they should do all in their power to persuade him to stay.

The discarded England fly-half thumped a 53-metre penalty on the stroke of half-time to haul Wasps two scores clear of a feisty Leicester and lay the foundations for victory. His contribution did not end there. He kicked 21 points and also unleashed a perfect pass to ensure the right wing Chris Bishay could finish off a great move that was sparked by Josh Lewsey's electric break in the 36th minute.

That was Wasps' second try, acting captain Serge Betsen having scored the first after a lung-bursting supporting run which saw him collect a pass from scrum-half Mark Robinson. Just four minutes after the interval Cipriani knocked over his third conversion after No 8 John Hart rumbled over from the back of a scrum.

Leicester had taken an early lead when the full-back Scott Hamilton was sent in down the right, scrum-half Julien Dupuy converting that. Leicester's next score was a lovely effort by the fly-half Sam Vesty, who snaked inside Tom Voyce.

But Cipriani's accurate boot – he strung together seven successful kicks – maintained too big a gap for Leicester to bridge.

Leicester did add two further tries first when Jordan Crane bounced over Betsen and Richard Birkett from close range, and again in the final minute when replacement Johne Murphy streaked through after a great break by Ben Youngs. Sam Vesty converted that to ensure a losing bonus point.

Leicester had stayed in touch but saw a good chance ebb away when Seru Rabeni spilt the ball when well placed. Cipriani immediately led Wasps in a bold counter-attack from behind their line, surviving a heavy tackle by the burly Argentine international prop Marcos Ayerza which saw him crash into the pitchside hoardings. He shook off any ill effects and shortly afterwards knocked over his fifth penalty.

Wasps: Tries Betsen, Bishay, Hart; Conversions Cipriani 3; Penalties Cipriani 5. Leicester: Tries Hamilton, Vesty, Crane, J Murphy; Conversions: Dupuy 2, Vesty; Penalty Dupuy.

Wasps: M Van Gisbergen (D Walder, 71); C Bishay, D Waldouck, J Lewsey, T Voyce; D Cipriani, M Robinson (J Simpson, 57); T Payne, J Ward (R Webber, ht), P Barnard (T French, 71), S Shaw (R Birkett, 54), G Skivington, D Leo (H Ellis, 59), S Betsen (capt), J Hart (R Hoadley, 77).

Leicester: S Hamilton; M Smith, S Rabeni (J Murphy, 63), A Mauger (capt), A Tuilagi (A Erinle, 80+4); S Vesty, J Dupuy (B Youngs, 78); B Stankovich (M Ayerza, 40+1), G Chuter (M Davies, 64), D Cole, L Deacon (B Deacon, 80), B Kay, C Newby, B Woods, J Crane (D Hemingway, 80+4).

Referee: D Pearson (Northumberland).