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Bonus point win moves Wasps up to seventh
WASPS 29, LONDON WELSH 19.
CHRISTIAN Wade scored two jaw-dropping tries as Wasps won a game they just couldn't afford to lose at Adams Park today.
The Wycombe star reminded England what they've over-looked with stunning scores in each half to underpin a victory over London Welsh that moves Wasps up to seventh in the Aviva Premiership.
Wing partner Tom Varndell also crossed twice to earn a bonus point on an afternoon that could prove pivotal for the black and golds this season.
After three straight victories, a home loss in a game they'd have pencilled in for a win would have stopped their momentum stone dead.
Instead, their tails are most definitely up. Four in a row is heady stuff, tries are coming thick and fast too and Dai Young's men can go to Saracens next weekend under no pressure at all.
The story is Wade though.
Each week opposing teams unleash new plans to shackle him and each week he finds new ways to tear them open.
He might not be the complete package yet, but he's the most exciting thing in English rugby these days and if he continues on this trajectory we are witnessing the birth of a superstar of the game.
Welsh featured five ex Wasps in their starting XV while former Wasps director of rugby Tony Hanks has been helping out with the coaching at the Kassam Stadium recently.
But while this familiarity didn't quite breed contempt, there was very little love lost between the teams, both of whom had lost four of their previous six league matches.
That record ramped up the tension beforehand and led to a first half that couldn't quite free its arms.
What ambition there was came almost exclusively from Wasps though, and they were rewarded for their approach with two quite remarkable tries.
Predictably, the wingers scored them and anyone in the Frank Adams Stand this afternoon would have gone home happy as the best of the action played out right in front of them.
Wade provided the first moment of quality after just four minutes when Joe Simpson (before he succumbed to a serious-looking injury) and Varndell did brilliantly to get the ball out wide.
Still 40m from the line and with covering defenders in place, it was a half chance at best for Wade. His speed off the mark is just breathless though, and he was through and over before a Welsh tackler could lay a hand on him.
But if that was special, Varndell's touchdown with 28 minutes played was even more so.
Twice and thrice Wasps could have conceded an intercept try as they threw the ball around on the half way line during one of their make-it-up-as-you-go spells.
It might not have looked like it at the time, but there was method in the madness and Marco Wentzel found Wade who found Varndell, and from 60m he simply seared to the line - selling Gavin Henson an outrageous dummy on the way.
Wasps also had a penalty from Nick Robinson - whose father-in-law Kenny Dalglish was watching in the stands -and a Lee Thomas drop goal in the bank by the interval, nullifying two Henson replies as they went to the break 16-6 ahead.
Henson had a chance to cut the gap to 16-9 with a 44th minute penalty, but that chance sailed wide and within minutes Wasps had almost wrapped it up with a try even better than the first two.
Yet again it was star man Wade giving his team the X factor, as he blazed over from an almost impossible position.
Robinson was the provider as he took the ball over half-way, but there wasn't even the hint of a gap when Wade caught his inside pass.
However, a burst of acceleration took him between tacklers, a sidestep took him past and third and then it was simply a matter of out-pacing the fourth before the former RGS High Wycombe boy claimed his fifth league try of the campaign.
Phil Mackenzie replied with a first Welsh try, but the Dragons' fire had been doused and Wasps wrapped up the try bonus when Varndell nipped over from Robinson's flighted pass in the 66th minute.
Welsh later rumbled over for their second score, but Thomas applied the final nail in the coffin when he ended a dire night for goal-kickers with a late penalty that denied the visitors even the consolation of a losing bonus point.
Watching from the stands, the fly half's father-in-law Kenny Dalglish would have been pleased.