Sampson and Dallaglio put life into Wasps

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The Independent Online

In a fine effort at upstaging the other, slightly better known Wasps returnee, Paul Sampson scored two second half tries on his first appearance for Wasps after re-signing from Wakefield Wildcats last week. Sampson's scores ensured Wasps followed up their weekend win in kind; likewise disappointing Saracens after their reverse on Saturday at London Irish.

In a fine effort at upstaging the other, slightly better known Wasps returnee, Paul Sampson scored two second half tries on his first appearance for Wasps after re-signing from Wakefield Wildcats last week. Sampson's scores ensured Wasps followed up their weekend win in kind; likewise disappointing Saracens after their reverse on Saturday at London Irish.

Lawrence Dallaglio was in action for the first time in more than 10 weeks since sharing in England's series-levelling win against the Springboks in Bloemfontein. The Wasps captain had little chance to pick up the pace before Saracens opened the scoring with a try by the centre Ben Johnston after two minutes. Wasps lost possession in their 22 as they dealt with a speculative punt by Duncan McRae, and the home side whipped the ball across the field, where Johnston brushed past ineffectual tackles from Simon Shaw and Josh Lewsey.

Dallaglio sent out a demand this week that referees act firmly against teams killing the ball. Last night's official Geoff Warren appeared to have heeded the call, and in the last six minutes of the first half he sin-binned a prop from each side in separate incidents.

The yellow cards had been looming for a while, with Matthew Leek, playing against his old club, kicking three penalty goals for Wasps after Saracens interfered with quick possession. Leek also converted a 29th minute try by Rob Henderson, who nipped through the home cover out wide after Dallaglio had appeared to slow down a promising Wasps move.

Leek had the goal-kicking duties due to the absence with a knee injury of Kenny Logan, which was bad news for the waytching Scotland backs coach, John Rutherford. No such bad luck for Andy Robinson, the England coach, who had a plethora of English-qualified talent to keep his eyes on. Both of those to see yellow, Will Green of Wasps and Saracens' David Flatman, had extra incentive to keep their noses clean.

Two penalty goals by Thomas Castaignÿde meant Saracens trailed by five points at the interval. That quickly became 12 as Dallaglio, growing in influence, nicked the ball from Tony Diprose at a Saracens scrum to pave the way for a try in the corner by Sampson.

The Wasps scrum-half , Martyn Wood, became the third Englishman to go to the sin bin after 49 minutes and, while the visitors were down to 14 men, Saracens chalked up 11 points through Diprose's try from a line-out drive and a conversion and penalty by McRae.

With the match finely poised in the last quarter, Wasps worked Sampson over with Leek converting superbly. McRae's late penalty goal salvaged a bonus point but nothing more for Saracens.

Saracens: Tries Johnston, Diprose; Conversions McRae; Penalties Castaignÿde 3, McRae.

Wasps: Tries Sampson 2, Henderson; Conversions Leek 3; Penalties Leek 3.

Saracens: T Castaignÿde; D O'Mahony, B Johnston, K Sorrell, D Luger; D McRae, K Bracken (capt); D Flatman (P Wallace , 47), M Cairns, J White, S Murray, B Davison (D Grewcock, B Davison, 49), R Hill, T Roques (K Chesney, 49), T Diprose.

Wasps: J Lewsey; S Roiser, R Henderson, M Denney (F Waters, 63), P Sampson; M Leek, M Wood; D Molloy, P Greening, W Green, A Reed (J Beardshaw, 79), S Shaw, J Worsley, P Volley, L Dallaglio (capt).

Referee: G Warren (Bristol).

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