Lemi's electric try puts the buzz back into Wasps
Wasps 24 Exeter 12
Monday 06 December 2010
At last, there is a smidgen of daylight in the middle of the Aviva Premiership and Wasps are on the right side of it. Victory in the mist over Exeter here yesterday takes them to fifth place in the table, via a hard-earned win that was decorated by a delightful try from David Lemi.
Wasps have struggled this season, for form and against injuries, the latest of which deprives them of Tom Rees, the England flanker. Last month against Bath, Rees damaged a shoulder – an area of his body which has created problems for him before – and he will see a specialist about the problem this week but he will be warmed by the sequence of four wins which has lifted his club out of the depths.
There is now a four-point gap between Gloucester, in sixth place, and Exeter in seventh and that, in as competitive a league such as this, could be significant prior to the break for European competition. Not that Exeter will diminish their efforts to stay in the top half: "Wasps are a well-established front-runner in the Premiership, it was always going to be tough for us but we stayed alive for most of the 80 minutes," Rob Baxter, the head coach, said.
On another day, Exeter would have crossed Wasps' line in the second half, given the amount of possession and territory they enjoyed, but Wasps were in unforgiving mood and denied their guests, on their first visit to Adams Park, even a losing bonus point. "We have been quite critical of the way we have been defending but in the last two weeks it's been right back to the standard we expect," Tony Hanks, director of rugby, said.
His old hands, Simon Shaw and Joe Worsley, have set the tone and younger players, like James Cannon, have responded. Their aggressive approach forced unfamiliar errors from the Chiefs and afforded Dave Walder, in his 150th Premiership game, four penalty attempts before the interval, three of them successful.
Ryan Davis responded with two penalties of his own but Wasps' superiority at the scrum saw them drive Ben Broster over. By the time Exeter had sorted out their scrummage problems, Wasps were even further ahead, thanks to a 60-metre try which stemmed from Exeter's failure to retain the ball in the tackle.
Walder's long pass gave Steve Kefu room and Mark van Gisbergen's well-timed arrival ripped open the defence and gave Lemi, back from his international travels with Samoa, the chance to finish. Wasps then had to spend some twenty minutes in their own 22 and although Davis added two more penalties to his tally, Exeter could not ram home their advantage.
They knocked on two metres short, then conceded a free-kick, and even when Nic Sestaret recovered an attempted goal-kick which rebounded from an upright, Wasps held firm.
Hanks believes that the three Premiership games played around Christmas will define the contenders for the top four places and his side are now back in the mix.
Scorers: London Wasps: Tries Broster, Lemi; Conversion Walder; Penalties Walder 4. Exeter Chiefs: Penalties Davis 4.
Wasps: M van Gisbergen; T Varndell, B Jacobs (captain), S Kefu, D Lemi; D Walder, J Simpson; S Ruwers (J Hobson, 55), T Lindsay (B Baker, 76), B Broster (I Taulafo, 55), S Shaw, J Cannon (M Veale, 58), J Worsley, S Betsen, A Powell (D Ward-Smith, 69).
Exeter: L Arscott; M Foster, P Dollman (B Rennie, 55), J Shoemark, N Sestaret; R Davis, H Thomas (G Cowley, 55); B Sturgess, S Alcott (C Whitehead, 58), C Budgen (H Tui, 49), T Hayes (captain), J Hanks (D Gannon, 61), T Johnson (C Slade, 71), J Scaysbrook, R Baxter.
Referee: G Garner (Warwickshire).
The Premier League is about earning the right to play on the counter-attack - Danny Higginbotham
Chelsea vs Crystal Palace: Alan Pardew seems to be building something special down at the Palace
John Stones to Chelsea: Next season's bumper TV deal means clubs such as Everton can say 'no'
Kevin De Bruyne: Why do Manchester City put such a high value on a player Chelsea rejected?
David De Gea to Real Madrid: Manchester United to 'make goalkeeper suffer' before deciding his fate as Real prepare £29.3m bid
- 1 The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
- 2 Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
- 3 Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
- 4 iPhone 5c to be discontinued, no iPhone 6c to replace it
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs