Walder warms to task in Wasps' stirring second-half demolition

Wasps 37 Newport-Gwent Dragons 10

Wasps took control of Heineken Cup Pool Six for two reasons: a superb second-half transformation and the fact that Toulouse do not play their home tie against Glasgow now until tomorrow night following two postponements.

Inspired by former England fly-half David Walder and future England scrum-half Joe Simpson, Wasps turned a 0-3 deficit after 39 minutes into a rousing four-try bonus-point win that sees them three points clear of their main rivals.

This victory swings the pressure onto to Toulouse, whose final pool match in January is here, where yesterday's sprinkling of hardy souls will become a jam-packed house of 10,000.

Rugby director Tony Hanks was thrilled by the outcome of an initially difficult day. "We were rapt that the game went ahead. It's credit to everyone involved getting the game on and the right areas clear," he said. "It shows what you can do if you invest in your pitch. The pitch was great and the under-soil heating worked.

"We were also pleased at the number who braved the elements because they had to walk to the game if they wanted to come. The team got a call last night and were told to get here early. They were here for breakfast. To finish the way they did was great.

"We looked in good shape in the second half. That allowed us to play the rugby we wanted to, right until the end. We had a lot of respect for the Dragons, and to be fair to them they really came at us."

Having warned supporters there were neither car parking facilities nor park-and-ride options, Wasps were surprised by the number who somehow made their way in the snow, including coachloads of Newport loyalists who had plenty to cheer during the first half.

Their team dominated in the tight, took an early lead through Matt Jones with a penalty – but, crucially, lacked the cutting edge to turn their superiority into points in the face of tremendous Wasps defence.

Walder, having missed a penalty seconds earlier, levelled for Wasps with another on the stroke of half-time, the whistle for which was the most exciting thing the home support had experienced since setting out on their sleds.

Some ear-warming advice from the coaching staff, however, saw a very sharper Wasps resume play. Walder's second penalty edged them ahead, Jones missed a shot to level and from then on, the roof creaked over Newport before falling in completely.

Walder made a storming break on 49 minutes, fired out a pass wide left to David Lemi, and although the Samoa international was halted inches from the line, Wasps recycled quickly and Joe Worsley drove hooker Joe Ward over from two yards.

The pin into the Newport balloon didn't cause a bang, just a slow hiss of escaping hope. And things got worse for the visitors when England centre Riki Flutey came on in place of Steve Kefu for his first action since an October injury. His creative spark was evident within minutes.

Simpson and Walder combined, the fly-half armed Flutey, who ran hard at the defence before passing with exquisite timing to provide Mark van Gisbergen with a score by the right-hand flag.

Walder and Flutey were at the core of the action again when Tom Varndell took a short pass from Nic Berry to score behind the posts with 11 minutes remaining, and it was Will Matthews who gave Berry the pass to dart over for the bonus-point fourth try.

Aled Brew's late try, converted by Jones, was like something left over from Newport's first-half display, when they were so clearly the better side.

Scorers: Wasps: Tries Ward, van Gisbergen, Varndell, Berry; Conversions Walder (4); Penalties Walder (3). Newport Gwent Dragons: Try Brew; Conversion Jones; Penalty Jones.

Wasps: M van Gisbergen; T Varndell, B Jacobs (c), S Kefu (R Flutey, 60), D Lemi; D Walder, J Simpson (N Berry, 67); Z Taulafo, J Ward (R Haughton, 67), B Broster (B Baker, 68), S Shaw, J Cannon, J Worsley (M Veale, 70), W Matthews, S Betsen.

Newport Gwent Dragons: P Leach; A Hughes (T Cheeseman, 75), T Riley, A Smith (c), A Brew; M Jones, W Evans (J Leadbeater, 71); H Gustafson, S Jones (L Burns, 54), B Castle, L Charteris (R Sidoli, 41), S Morgan, L Evans, G Thomas, T Faletau (D Lydiate, 52).

Referee: C Berdos (France)

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Environment
The plant ‘Nepenthes zygon’ was donated to Kew in 2004
environment
News
This artist impression shows a modern-day Atlantis
news
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer snapped celebrities for 40 years - but it wasn’t all fun and games
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital