Shaw to the fore as Wasps state case for title defence

Wasps 31 Northampton 5

Northampton could easily find themselves back at the Causeway Stadium next month for a Premiership semi-final against the reigning champions, a prospect they must view with the kind of enthusiasm the Prime Minister reserves for late-night votes on variable top-up fees. Wayne Smith, the Midlanders' coach, knows a thing or two about this game - he is, after all, about to embark on a second tour of duty at the sharp end of the All Blacks operation - but he was genuinely startled by the extent of Wasps' supremacy yesterday.

Smith singled out Simon Shaw, the Londoners' answer to Roald Dahl's Big Friendly Giant. "He hurt us in the wide channels, and hurt us badly," he admitted. It was the first of a series of tributes to Shaw's performance in the second row, the most striking of which came from Lawrence Dallaglio, who ignored the diplomatic niceties associated with the England captaincy and effectively demanded his colleague's presence on the summer trip to New Zealand and Australia.

Asked to comment on the issue from a Wasps perspective, as opposed to an England one, Dallaglio chose to do it his way. "It's a mystery to a lot of people," he said, quite obviously referring to Shaw's absence from the Test side. "He'd be in anyone's Premiership team, I know that much. He brings a hard edge to our game and has footballing skills most players in his position cannot match. We have a mighty tough tour coming up, and we'll need some mighty tough people. To my mind, you don't need to look much further than Simon."

Strong words indeed, and brave ones too, but they at least saved Dallaglio the trouble of e-mailing his views to Clive Woodward and Andy Robinson, the coaches primarily responsible for rejecting Shaw's claim to red rose preferment. On this evidence, there is more chance of Northampton winning here on the weekend of 15 May - if, indeed, they recover from this battering sufficiently to make the play-offs - than of Shaw being left off the flight to Auckland in June.

Shaw was not alone in running Northampton ragged; Mark van Gisbergen, Fraser Waters and Tom Voyce made a mess of the visitors in open field, while Trevor Leota, Joe Worsley and Dallaglio himself clocked up many a mile on the ball-carrying front. But the out-sized lock bounced off so many tacklers, turned over so much opposition ball and flicked so many damaging passes out of contact that a Martian would have recognised the quality of his contribution.

Northampton defended their line for 28 one-way minutes in the first half, thanks largely to the self-sacrifice of their resident workhorse, Matt Lord. Then, the barricade crumbled. Shaw handled twice at the start of the move, driving hard down the left to create an attacking platform in the "red zone", to use the common parlance. From there the ball was spun right and when Worsley found himself confronted only by the lightweight Shane Drahm he finished the move with barely a second thought.

Sixteen points ahead at the interval, Wasps killed the game within four minutes of the restart. Shaw was prominent once more at the line-out and in the loose, and as a result Will Green claimed a rare tighthead's try. An exchange of scores in the final quarter - Bruce Reihana for Northampton, Voyce for the home team - may not have amounted to much, but Wasps' performance certainly did.

Wasps: Tries Worsley, Green, Voyce. Conversions Van Gisbergen 2. Penalties Van Gisbergen 4. Northampton: Try Reihana.

Wasps: M Van Gisbergen; J Lewsey, F Waters (A Erinle 76), S Abbott (M Denney 76), T Voyce; A King, R Howley (H Biljon 80); C Dowd, T Leota (B Gotting 76), W Green (T Payne 65), S Shaw, R Birkett (G Skivington 76), J Worsley, P Volley (M Lock 78), L Dallaglio (capt).

Northampton: B Reihana; N Beal, C Hyndman (J Brooks 67), J Leslie (capt, M Dawson 47), O Ripol; S Drahm, M Robinson; T Smith (C Budgen 75), D Richmond (S Thompson 47), T Taumoepeau (R Morris 47), M Lord, M Connors (J Phillips 75), A Blowers, D Fox, M Soden (G Seely 50).

Referee: A Spreadbury (Somerset)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Extras
indybest
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
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

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits