'You can't always win games playing pretty rugby'

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The Independent Online

Wasps have not lost a cup final since catching the mother and father of a hiding from Saracens in the 1998 knock-out showpiece at Twickenham - a humiliation that transformed them from a highly competitive side to one of the most successful in the history of English club rugby. Lawrence Dallaglio was not tempted to place this achievement alongside the Heineken Cup triumph of 1994, the run of Premiership titles that currently stands at three with power to add, or even the back-to-back Powergen victories of 1999 and 2000. He was, however, encouraged by his team's ability to "win ugly".

If the celebrated No 8 was critical of Wasps' approach to the opening exchanges, he was more than happy with the hard edge they brought to bear on Llanelli Scarlets once the heavens opened during the second half. "We tried to win the game in the first 15 minutes - we were over-excited, racing around like a bunch of schoolboys," said the captain. "But we have high standards at Wasps. Once we reminded ourselves that it's not always possible to win games by playing pretty rugby, once we addressed our lack of discipline, I thought we performed pretty well. Don't forget that there were two serious injuries out there. When that sort of thing happens, the rhythm of a game can be badly affected."

Gareth Jenkins, very much in the frame for the Wales coaching job most obsververs believe should have been his many moons ago, had no complaints at the outcome. "We were sloppy towards the end of the first half, when Wasps scored the try that drew them level, and we played the conditions poorly in the second half," said the Scarlets' director of rugby. "We thought there might be 16 points for us after the break, but it was Wasps who claimed those. It's very disappointing."

* England World Cup winner Will Greenwood marked possibly his final Twickenham appearance before retirement with a try-scoring display as Harlequins completed a domestic double yesterday. The recently-crowned National League One champions added this season's Powergen National Trophy to their collection, with England Under-21 international Adrian Jarvis pulling the strings as they beat Bedford 39-23. Jarvis kicked five penalties and two conversions to steer his team home, while Greenwood, full-back Tom Williams, wing Simon Keogh and No 8 Nick Easter claimed touchdowns.

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