Waters halts Gloucester's chance for revenge

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Fraser Waters touched down as a gritty Wasps performance ensured a 20-12 win as Gloucester failed to avenge their humiliating Zurich Premiership final defeat of last season.

The Cherry and Whites were crushed 39-3 at Twickenham last May when Wasps were crowned English champions, although last night's meeting saw little of the drama which marked that day.

Fans hoping to see defensive excellence certainly went home satisfied but those looking for attacking rugby were bitterly disappointed as a dour contest offered entertainment only grudgingly from the start. Waters' try - the solitary touchdown of the match - was one of the highlights, coming in the second half when Wasps finally began to build a head of steam as Gloucester's challenge faltered.

The home side were ruthlessly professional in closing the match out with Mark van Gisbergen, who finished with 12 points, impressing once again.

Henry Paul accounted for the visitors' score with four penalties but along with his fellow backs, he failed to shine in attack despite the expert prompting of Australian fly-half Duncan McRae.

McRae's deft kicks were doing the real damage and Wasps were finding it difficult to stamp their authority on the game, largely thanks to Gloucester's aggressive work in defence.

Paul levelled the score two minutes after the break but try-scoring opportunities were in short supply as the two teams marked the first 10 minutes of the second half with a tedious exchange of kicks.

Van Gisbergen was the architect of the only try when, spotting that the visitors' defence was up very quickly, he fired a neat kick through the midfield which centre Waters chased and gathered up before crossing unopposed.

Alex King was hauled off the bench by the Wasps coach, Warren Gatland, and made a swift impact by slotting a drop-goal. From then on it was all Wasps as Gloucester found themselves squeezed out of the match, Van Gisbergen having the last say with a penalty deep into injury time which denied the visitors their losing bonus point.

Elsewhere, Chris Jones, Barrie Stewart and Mark Cueto scored tries and the former Springbok Braam van Straaten dominated, kicking 16 points as Sale Sharks put Saracens to the sword at Edgeley Park, winning 33-3. Andy Goode registered the visitors' only points with a penalty.