Wasps 55 Benetton Treviso 0: Waldouck the wonderkid has Wasps buzzing

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The Independent Online

Wasps went top of Pool One of the Heineken Cup thanks to this annihilation of a feeble Benetton Treviso side and Castres' shock victory over Perpignan on Saturday. The Adams Park-based club equalled their try-scoring record for the competition with nine, the third time they have reached that mark. They could have scored more, had it not been for fumbles and stumbles in the most appalling of conditions.

Italian club rugby is said to be in a parlous state and judging by this brave but pointless performance by Treviso that statement has to be true. This was their second biggest margin of defeat in the competition - by a point - and it was four points shy of the highest score they have conceded. They were shambolic.

They did manage the odd moment in attack, and a few more in defence to keep out the marauding English side, but generally they had nothing of substance to offer. They were out-scrummaged and found the competition at the line-out too strong.

The problem is that not enough top players are plying their trade in the Super 10, Italy's domestic league. There has been an exodus of the best, to France and England chiefly, so it is little wonder that Treviso are eager to sign the former Leicester back-row forward Will Johnson, the brother of Martin, probably some time later this week. What talent is left at home is clearly not progressing.

The contrast with Wasps could not have been greater. With their pack on top throughout, the home backs enjoyed the freedom of the park, within the limitations of the weather.

Star of the show was the teenage centre Dominic Waldouck, a product of Latymer Upper School in Hammersmith. His distribution was of the highest class; his timing of a pass as precise as an atomic clock; his reading of the game done in an instant. Only 19, he has a head years in advance of his age. He is also powerful on the ball, quick on the break and solid in defence.

Wasps' hungry fliers benefited from Waldouck's vision and skills - in all he had a hand in four of the tries, including one for his fellow wunderkind Daniel Cipriani, a first-half replacement for England's Josh Lewsey.

Cipriani, a product of Whitgift School and Rosslyn Park, is also 19 and has an equally startling amount of talent to Waldouck. His handling game is wondrous to behold and he generates remarkable speed when launching his long, flat cut-out passes, one of which set up the left wing Tom Voyce for the second of his two tries.

Raphael Ibañez, the veteran French hooker, opened the rout in the third minute from a line-out. Thereafter Wasps looked to go wide, or, in the case of the second try by the flanker Tom Rees, straight at and through the wobbly defenders.

Lewsey was the third player to score two tries, but sadly in scoring his second he injured his left calf and was taken off the field. Wasps are unlikely to lose too much sleep over the injury, however, given the talent they have coming through.

Wasps: Tries Ibañez, Lewsey 2, Rees 2, Voyce 2, Sackey, Cipriani; Conversions Van Gisbergen 5.

Wasps: M van Gisbergen; P Sackey, D Waldouck, J Lewsey (D Cipriani, 32), T Voyce; A King (capt; J Staunton, 65), E Reddan (M McMillan, 62); T Payne (Vickery, 71), R Ibañez (J Ward, 62), P Vickery (N Adams, 62), S Shaw (G Skivington, 62), T Palmer, D Leo, T Rees, J Worsley (L Dallaglio, 35-40; 62).

Benetton Treviso: E Mulieri; M Perziano (V Candiago, 59), G Pizarro, A Sartoretto, A Sgarbi; A Marcato, S Picone (M Goosen, 69); F Sbaraglini (E Ceccato, 71), E Ceccato (P Di Santo, 40), A Allori (G Faliva, 40), D Kingi (M Pelizzari, 74), M Wentzel (M Sutto, 36-40; 43), E Pavanello, A Ceccato (M Pelizzari, 57), Z Ansell.

Referee: D Changleng (Scotland).

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