Wasps 35 Newcastle 12: Cipriani far too cute for Newcastle

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The Independent Online

Paul Sackey and Danny Cipriani scored two tries each as Wasps brought their European form back to the Premiership.

Cipriani, the 20-year-old fly-half who narrowly missed out on England's World Cup squad, had a hand in all of Wasps' tries and kicked two penalties and two conversions for a 20-point haul. Riki Flutey was the other try-scorer.

Newcastle's props, Jon Golding and Dave Wilson, scored tries but their fly-half, Steve Jones, returned only one conversion from four kicks at goal.

Newcastle were without their England backs Jonny Wilkinson and Toby Flood, who hope to have recovered from ankle injuries in time for Saturday's fixture between the two sides back in Wycombe in the EDF Energy Cup.

In their stead, Jones missed two kickable penalties before Cipriani, who missed his first, kicked Wasps ahead in the 30th and 34th minutes. Two superbly worked tries followed. Cipriani's pass sent Flutey jinking through the Newcastle defence in the 37th minute. Three minutes later the youngster and Flutey again showed fast hands to unleash Sackey.

Golding drove over from close range early in the second half and Jones converted, but Wasps introduced England's Simon Shaw and Josh Lewsey, who missed the World Cup final with a hamstring injury, early in the period. Lewsey's first run set up an attack which ended with Cipriani scoring a 57th-minute try.

The former England captain Lawrence Dallaglio joined the fray after Wilson forced his way over for Newcastle's second try in the 62nd minute, and only a last-ditch diving tackle on Tim Visser by Lewsey prevented the visitors from scoring again. Their hopes were finally ended, though, when Wilson was sent to the sin bin for the last 10 minutes for swinging a punch which failed to connect.

Lewsey inspired the fourth Wasps try, which secured them a bonus point in the 74th minute. Catching a Newcastle kick, he turned inside two men, made a break and found Cipriani, who threw a long pass to present Sackey with his second try in the right-hand corner.

Fittingly, Cipriani had the final say, underlining his claim for a place in England's Six Nations squad, with his second try in the final minute.

Wasps: Tries Flutey, Sackey 2, Cipriani 2; Conversions Cipriani 2; Penalties Cipriani 2. Newcastle: Tries Golding, D Wilson; Conversion Jones.

Wasps: M van Gisbergen (J Lewsey, 52); P Sackey, F Waters, R Flutey, T Voyce; D Cipriani, E Reddan (S Amor, 62); T Payne (M Holford, 76), J Ward (R Webber, 76) N Adams, R Birkett (S Shaw, 52), G Skivington, J Haskell, T Rees (J Leo, 56), J Hart (capt; L Dallaglio, 64).

Newcastle: T May; O Phillips (T Visser, 48), M Tait, J Noon, J Rudd; S Jones, J Grindal (L Dickson, 48); J Golding, M Thompson (A Long, 52), D Wilson, A Perry (S Tomes, 48), M Sorenson, G Parling, B Woods, P Dowson (capt; J McDonnell, 74).

Referee: M Fox (Leicestershire).