Wasps suffering with an identity crisis


London Wasps’ supporters are going through the uncertainty familiar to every club in any code who undergo a change in ownership at the same time as asking themselves what they are all about.

A move from Adams Park has been certain since the owner Steve Hayes shipped out last year.

And the recently arrived chief executive Nick Eastwood wrote in the match programme for Saturday’s agonising 26-24 loss to Northampton of “exploring what the Wasps brand means”, which suggests either the ‘London’ will go or the ‘Wasps’ will go – or perhaps the wasp on the badge will just face the other way. No such identity crisis for Northampton. A poor run of results earlier in the season had threatened their chances of a fourth straight appearance in the play-offs. But they have won four on the spin now and, having beaten Wasps in each of the seven previous meetings, they deployed their favourite tactic of the driving maul to devastating effect.

Two Wasps forwards – Rhys Thomas and Tom Palmer – went to the sin bin, as did Ashley Johnson in the 74th minute in the run-up to Christian Day’s last-ditch try for Saints, converted for a bonus-point win by Steve Myler.

Northampton threw mostly to the big flanker Samu Manoa in the line-out and drove from there with the likes of Soane Tonga’uiha and Dylan Hartley doing the steering.

“The driving maul worked for us here but next week it might not,” said Hartley, who put his name on Saints’ third try in the 34th minute and had his shoulder to the wheel in each of the other three including the early penalty try that cost Thomas his yellow card.

Christian Wade had few chances to stretch his legs but anyone who says the Wasps wing is too small was confounded by his turnover that led to the Premiership’s leading tryscorer Tom Varndell running in his 12th of the season. As for Elliot Daly, his wondrous long-range goal-kicking and a try past four Northampton defenders, make him an exciting prospect.

The summer may see Wales wing George North joining the incoming backs coach Alex King and scrum-half Kahn Fotuali’i at Northampton. Similarly Wasps are bringing in a loosehead prop, Matt Mullan, and experienced fly-half, Andy Goode. For now the clubs are in the top half of the table, but not deserving of much more.

London Wasps: H Southwell (capt); C Wade, E Daly, C Bell, T Varndell (A Masi 59); Stephen Jones (N Robinson 62), J Simpson; T Payne (Z Taulafo 48), TR Thomas (T Lindsay 52), P Swainston, T Palmer (J Launchbury 48), M Wentzel, A Johnson, Sam Jones (J Haskell 48), B Vunipola.

Northampton Saints: B Foden; J Wilson, G Pisi, D Waldouck, J Elliott; S Myler, L Dickson (M Roberts 55); S Tonga’uiha, D Hartley (capt), T Mercey (B Mujati 48), C Lawes, C Day, S Manoa, P Dowson, GJ van Velze (T Wood 48).

Referee: D Rose (Plymouth).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
techYahoo Japan launches service to delete your files and email your relatives when you die
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Arts and Entertainment
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor