Wasps well swatted

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The Independent Online

The absence of Lawrence Dallaglio, the influential Wasps captain, proved too big a burden for his side as they went down to a crushing defeat to Stade Français to leave their Heineken Cup hopes this season teetering on the brink. Dallaglio, who was ruled out of this vital Pool 2 game with a niggling thigh injury, cut a forlorn figure in the Wasps dug-out at the Stade Jean Bouin in the shadow of the Parc des Princes, as his side went down to a second defeat in this season's tournament.

The absence of Lawrence Dallaglio, the influential Wasps captain, proved too big a burden for his side as they went down to a crushing defeat to Stade Français to leave their Heineken Cup hopes this season teetering on the brink. Dallaglio, who was ruled out of this vital Pool 2 game with a niggling thigh injury, cut a forlorn figure in the Wasps dug-out at the Stade Jean Bouin in the shadow of the Parc des Princes, as his side went down to a second defeat in this season's tournament.

The England and Lions hero was badly missed by an out-of-sorts Wasps side that never really got to grips with a star-studded Stade Français line-up that called all the shots and turned on the style in thrilling fashion.

The English cup holders were never really in with a shout despite going in at half time only 18-10 behind and Dallaglio will know that if they are to repeat the achievements of last season and reach the knock-out stages they will have to rely on other results in the pool going their way.

Pool 2 leaders Swansea face group outsiders L'Aquila in Italy today and if, as expected, the Welsh side emerge with a third victory on the trot Wasps have it all to do.

While the London side missed the dominant personality of Dallaglio, Stade Français could call upon two big game players, fly-half Diego Dominguez and wing Christophe Dominici, who are the opposite of Dallaglio's brute force and presence in every way.

Their mercurial talents are based on speed of thought and speed of foot and Dominguez, who finished the game with a personal tally of 20 points, and Dominici proved there are two sides to rugby.

The Italian fly-half scored the try of the game with a move he started in his own 22 to leave the Wasps defence flat-footed and the ball went through numerous French hands before he was on the end of the scoring pass to cross in a corner.

Dominici, who played out of position at full-back, showed all his wonderful skills, crossing for two tries and the French wing unselfishly gave up a possible third when over the line. He gave the ball to prop Patrice Collazo for the try, but that would have only rubbed salt into the gaping wounds of a dejected Wasps side.

Stade Français: C Dominici, B Lima (S Mason, 76), F Comba, C Mytton, T Lombard (R Poulain, 70), D Dominguez; P Collazo, F Landreau (M Blin, 76), P Lemoine (J Wring, 66), D Auradou, M James (D George, 73), C Moni (P Tabacco, 76), R Pool Jones, C Juillet (capt)

London Wasps: J Lewsey, S Roiser, M Denney (capt), R Henderson, K Logan, A King, M Wood; A Le Chevalier, T Leota (P Greening, 60), W Green, A Reed, S Shaw, J Worsley, P Volley, P Scrivener.

Referee: Alan Lewis (Ireland).

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