Wasps soar

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The Independent Online
WASPS will go to Twickenham on Saturday for the Pilkington Cup final with their confidence brimming after yesterday's 53-25 victory over Orrell. No one would have blamed the Wasps players if they had taken things easy with third place in the championship already under lock and key, and the need to avoid unnecessary injuries. However, the entire first team was on parade, and certainly did not lack commitment in a game which was consistently competitive and free-flowing.

Even when they fell 17-15 behind early in the second half, it always seemed that Wasps would be keeping their foot firmly on the pedal, and so it proved, spectacularly, as they ran in six tries during the final 25 minutes.

Saracens tied up promotion and the Second Division title some weeks ago; there was bitter relegation battle being fought yesterday, however, with six clubs in danger of joining Coventry for the drop. Nottingham completed a successful crawl back from the brink with a victory over Waterloo, and so it was Fylde who are now faced with relegation after throwing away an 8-3 half-time lead over Waterloo and losing the match 8-11.

There were also relegation issues to be settled in Wales. Abertillery managed to stay up with an amazing 35-29 win over Swansea at St Helens. They trailed 21-6 at half-time but raced in for four tries in the second half. Abertillery's win means that Dunvant are relegated despite storming to a 32-10 home win over Newbridge.

New Zealand yesterday named their squad for the World Cup and confirmed expectations in omitting Michael Jones. Jones, who starred in both the 1987 and 1991 tournaments, was omitted largely because his religious convictions stop him playing on Sundays and he would thus not be able to play in the quarter- or semi-finals. The selectors, however, have gambled on the injured No8, Zinzan Brooke, who still has to pass a fitness test.

NEW ZEALAND WORLD CUP SQUAD: Backs: G Osborne, E Rush, J Wilson, M Ellis, J Lomu, F Bunce, W Little, A Ieremia, A Mehrtens, S Culhane, A Strachan, G Bachop. Forwards: Z Brooke, K Schuler, M Brewer, J Joseph, P Henderson, J Kronfeld, B Larsen, I Jones, R Brooke, C Dowd, O Brown, R Loe, S Fitzpatrick (capt), N Hewitt.