Walder just grand in raising play-off hopes for Wasps

Wasps 33 Sale 26
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The Independent Online

David Walder kicked Wasps' season back on track with 23 points that proved enough to hold off a Charlie Hodgson-inspired fightback by Sale yesterday.

Walder leaves the club at the end of the season to play in Japan, and how they will miss the former England fly-half, not least because he joined the 1,000 Premiership points club during this contest. Equally, Sale will struggle to replace the excellent rugby brain of England stand-off Hodgson, who is taking his talents to Saracens in June.

Walder said: "I was told before the game that I was 11 points short of the 1,000, so when my fourth penalty went over, I had something I can really look back on with pride when I stop playing. What mattered most was that we got things back to winning ways because there is still time to go for a top four finish and guarantee Heineken Cup rugby for Wasps next season."

Sale left Adams Park with one point, but will long regret taking so long to get their game going, a fallow period during which the ruthless Walder banged over five unanswered penalties that laid the foundations for a badly needed Premiership victory.

A Ben Cohen try brought Sale back into it before the ever-reliable Walder sparked a superb try involving Joe Simpson, whose inside pass sent Riki Flutey over. Still Sale fought back with a close-range try from Wame Lewaravu.

Wasps: Tries Flutey, Simpson; Conversion Walder; Penalties Walder (6); Drop goal Walder. Sale: Tries Cohen, Lewaravu; Conversions Hodgson (2); Penalties Hodgson (4).

Wasps R Haughton; B Jacobs, D Waldouck , R Flutey, D Lemi; D Walder, J Simpson; T Payne, J Ward, B Broster, J Cannon, R Birkett (capt), J Hart, D Ward-Smith, J Worsley.

Sale N MacLeod; T Brady, C Bell, K Tonetti, B Cohen; C Hodgson, W Cliff ; L Imiolek, N Briggs, H Thomas, C Jones, S Cox, J Gaskell (capt), S Koyamaibole, N McMillan.

Referee D Pearon (RFU).