Wasps' mission accomplished

Wasps 45 Calvisano 14
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The Independent Online

Wasps' defence of their Heineken Cup title was given a shot in the arm by Sunday's events in Pool One, starting with their nine-try demolition of the Italian minnows.

A much-needed bonus point arrived in first-half injury-time through a try from the flanker Johnny O'Connor. With that mission accomplished all eyes turned to the Midlands, where Biarritz did Wasps a huge favour by beating Leicester.

A straight victory in France next Saturday could now be enough to book a quarter-final place, which would be a remarkable change in fortune after last month's two European defeats by the Tigers.

O'Connor and the full-back, Mark van Gisbergen, scored two tries each against the Italians and Josh Lewsey, Craig Dowd, Tom Voyce, Ben Gotting and Lawrence Dallaglio also touched down. Calvisano's Giampiero De Carli was sent off for fighting late on.

The wet conditions resulted in a catalogue of errors from both sides, with one promising Calvisano attack, started by their No 8, Caine Elisara, coming to an end when the ball was spilled close to the Wasps' line.

The Italians paid for the miss when Mike Roberts made the initial break before the ball was released right to Van Gisbergen, who crossed under the posts for the home side's first try.

Wasps didn't bother with the conversion, reasoning that their time could be better spent chasing the four tries they needed for a bonus point and that any more after that would be a bonus in themselves, given that quarter-final places can be also be allocated on tries scored.

Lewsey, playing in the centre, dummied and slipped over from five yards out before the Irish international O'Connor claimed the third try after excellent work from Voyce and the flanker Joe Worsley. Calvisano's slim chances of avoiding a thrashing receded further after their captain, Maurizio Zaffiri, was sent to the sin-bin.

O'Connor emerged from the bottom of a pushover for the bonus-point try before the Calvisano centre Christian Zanoletti set up a try for Ludovico Nitoglia. Gerard Fraser converted but Voyce soon scampered over before Gotting netted Wasps' seventh try. The hooker was then used as a punchbag by the substitute De Carli, and the Italy prop was shown a straight red card.

Dallaglio barged over for a try against the team from the land of his fathers before Pino Patelli pulled one back, which Martin Murgier converted. Van Gisbergen then bagged his second try to complete the rout.

Wasps: Tries Van Gisbergen 2, O'Connor 2, Lewsey, Voyce, Dowd, Gotting, Dallaglio. Calvisano: Tries Nitoglia, Patelli; Conversions Fraser, Murgier.

Wasps: M van Gisbergen; T Voyce, J Lewsey, S Abbott, M Roberts (A Erinle, 54); J Brooks, H Biljon; C Dowd, B Gotting, T Payne, S Shaw, R Birkett, J Worsley, L Dallaglio (capt), J O'Connor.

Calvisano: M Ravazzolo; L Nitoglia, M Murgier, C Zanoletti, N Mazzuccato; G Fraser (P Patelli, 61), P Canavosio (V Bernabo, 66); G Bocca (G De Carli, 61), G Intoppa, M Castrogiovanni, M Ngauamo, J Purll, R Mandelli, C Elisara, M Zaffiri.

Referee: N Owens (Wales).