Dallaglio's gusto lifts Wasps to top of table

Wasps 32 - Worcester 17
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The Independent Online

When Ian McGeechan replaces Warren Gatland as Wasps' director of rugby in the summer, he will find that Gatland's legacy has been to instil in his side the necessity of extracting every advantage from each situation where the opposition is in difficulty.

When Ian McGeechan replaces Warren Gatland as Wasps' director of rugby in the summer, he will find that Gatland's legacy has been to instil in his side the necessity of extracting every advantage from each situation where the opposition is in difficulty.

McGeechan was among the crowd at the Causeway Stadium yesterday, where Wasps earned a bonus point for scoring four tries to go top of the Premiership and scored 17 points. There were tries from Lawrence Dallaglio and Joe Worsley and two conversions and a penalty by Mark van Gisbergen, while the visiting captain Pat Sanderson was in the sin bin. This was ample revenge for a defeat at Sixways in November, when Gatland fielded a weakened side.

Dallaglio, in particular, enjoyed his try, celebrating extravagantly and indulging in some quite unnecessary taunting of the Worcester spectators packed into the terraced end of the ground.

Even though that took it to 27-10 Worcester, to their credit, refused to submit and were still competing into stoppage time, when Ben Hinshelwood scored their second try.

Without Sanderson's enforced departure, the Warriors would probably have been much closer. They allowed Josh Lewsey to steal away from a ruck for an opportunist try early on, which Van Gisbergen converted before adding a penalty. Worcester had hardly struck a blow in earnest, though on the stroke of half-time, James Brown banged over a 40-metre drop goal.

After the restart, Thomas Lombard intercepted Van Gisbergen's long pass for a try and, as Worcester kept searching for gaps, Dale Rasmussen, Lombard and Thinus Delport swept up the left. After Lombard had dropped Rasmussen's pass, John Brain's disappointment was palpable.

"If we had finished that move off," said the Worcester director of rugby, "we would have gone 17-10 up and it could have been a very different game."

Ultimately, it was Paul Sackey who did the finishing off, to give Wasps an outstanding chance of reaching the Premiership final at Twickenham next month without the uncertainty of a semi-final. First, though, there is a visit to Welford Road on the last day of the league programme.

Wasps: Tries Lewsey, Dallaglio, Worsley, Sackey; Conversions Van Gisbergen 3; Penalties Van Gisbergen 2. Worcester: Tries Lombard, Hinshelwood; Conversions Brown 2; Drop goal Brown.

Wasps: T Voyce; P Sackey, A Erinle, J Lewsey (W Fury, 74), T Evans (J Mbu, 70); M van Gisbergen, M Dawson; T Payne (C Dowd, 24-38), P Greening (T Leota, 62), W Green, S Shaw, R Birkett, J Worsley, T Rees, L Dallaglio (capt).

Worcester: T Delport; D O'Leary (P Sampson, 67), D Rasmussen, T Lombard, B Hinshelwood; J Brown, M Powell; T Windo, A van Niekerk, N Lyman (S Sparks, 35-40), P Murphy (R Blaze, 67), P Murphy, C Gillies, S Vaili, P Sanderson (capt), D Hickey.

Referee: S Davey (Sussex).

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