Wasps 40 Llanelli Scarlets 7: Dallaglio ready for fearsome Munster

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The Independent Online

A classy and clinical performance against a second-string Llanelli Scarlets side yesterday, set Wasps up for rugby's Mission Impossible next week.

The Wycombe-based team have to go to Thomond Park on Saturday and avoid defeat to guarantee further progress in the tournament. Only one team – Leicester – has managed to beat Munster at the Limerick ground in the 12-year history of the Heineken Cup. Leicester achieved the feat in the pool stages last year, but prior to that some great English sides had fallen at the fortress, among them Harlequins three times, Bath, Sale, Saracens and Gloucester, as well as Wasps, who finished 49-22 losers there in October 1996.

"It is going to be a tough game," said Lawrence Dallaglio, the Wasps captain, after the six-try demolition of injury-hit Llanelli.

Next weekend is also a big match for the Scarlets. They have yet to pick up a point in the pool and the director of rugby, Phil Davies, said: "We don't want to finish with no points."

Scarlets were without nine first-choice players through injury, among them Wales scrum-half Dwayne Peel, whose shoulder injury is expected to keep him out of the opening Six Nations match against England on 2 February. The stand-ins did not provide much food for thought for new Wales coach Warren Gatland, who watched the game from a hospitality box.

The New Zealander is close to agreeing a deal with Wasps that will allow Shaun Edwards to become the part-time defence coach for Wales while still carrying on in a full-time role with the Wycombe-based club.

Dallaglio also admitted that Gatland had invited the former England No 8 to watch some Wales coaching sessions, but gave no clue as to why. He was more concerned with talking about the match.

The Premiership side were far more slick, far more purposeful and far more accurate in attack, while their defence was only breached once, when Maori prop Deacon Manu was driven over following a rare spell of Scarlets pressure.

It was in stark contrast to the bulk of the Wasps scores. Their first one was started in their own half when the scrum-half, Eoin Reddan, took a tap penalty, slithered through numerous Scarlets before sending Fraser Waters over on the left. After the England captain, Phil Vickery, was driven over in the 17th minute there came a lull, ended some 20 minutes later when David Doherty latched onto Riki Flutey's thoughtful grubber.

Dominic Waldouck had the honour of scoring Wasps' fourth try to clinch a bonus point, but the score of the match arrived in the second half.

Haskell won turnover ball, slipped it to Simon Shaw who found Dallaglio. Waldouck took it on before slinging a long, decisive pass to the replacement winger, Rob Hoadley. The prolific Paul Sackey wrapped it all up with 10 minutes left and Wasps finished the match with 14 men, when Haskell hobbled off after all the replacements had been used. Even then Llanelli just could not find a way to add to their score such was the home side's dominance.

Wasps: Tries Waters, Vickery, Doherty, Waldouck, Hoadley, Sackey; Conversions

Cipriani 4, Doherty.

Llanelli Scarlets: Try Manu; Conversion Priestland.

Wasps: D Doherty; P Sackey, F Waters, R Flutey (R Hoadley, 50), D Waldouck; D Cipriani (J Hart, 67), E Reddan (M McMillan, 56); T Payne, R Ibanez (J Ward, 64), P Vickery (T French, 64), S Shaw (R Birkett, 56), G Skivington (T Palmer, 64), J Haskell, T Rees, L Dallaglio (capt).

Llanelli Scarlets: C Thomas; D Daniel (G Evans, 42-54 and 75), M Watkins, G Evans (J Davies, h-t), M Jones; R Priestland, L Davies (G Cattle, 54); I Thomas, J Hayter (D George, h-t), D Manu (B Douglas, 66), A Eustace (D Day, 66), S MacLeod, D Jones (J Bater, 67), S Easterby (capt), N Thomas.

Referee: C Berdos (France).

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