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Wasps facing LV=Cup exit
WASPS' LV Cup campaign is limping to a quiet end after they were steamrollered 34-8 at Welford Road this afternoon.
But they won't be shedding too many tears.
While they claimed this competition was attracting their full attention, their team sheet today said differently. Only two of the starting XV were recognised first team players and even some of the replacements had been replaced in a side including four debutants and a raft of other names mined from the depths of the squad.
It made this match rugby's equivalent of the lost cause and meant their bid to make it eight games unbeaten was over almost before it began.
That said, the understudies went down swinging.
They started both halves on the front foot and when Tigers cranked up the power they defended with an attitude that ensures they will return to Wycombe beaten but not broken.
And while it was utterly convincing in the end, Wasps began with real belief and for the first ten minutes surprised their hosts by dominating possession and actually looking quite handy with it.
New centre Charlie Hayter was particularly bright and a few enterprising attacks flickered without quite catching fire.
But at no stage did they threaten the Leicester line, and with the Tigers' pack outmuscling Wasps from the first whistle the tide soon turned.
The big surprise was that Wasps held out until the 17th minute, when prop Logovi'i Mulipola wriggled over from beneath a pile of bodies.
But that was the turning point and from then on it was an exercise in damage limitation.
Wave after wave of Leicester attacks washed over Wasps and it was to their credit that they restricted the hosts to just one more first half try, scored by Michael Noone after 39 minutes.
Dan Bowden also knocked over a penalty to make it 15-0 at the break, but in truth the gap was significantly greater.
Four more Leicester penalties had been kicked to touch and at least two gilt-edged try-scoring chances had been butchered by the hosts.
They wasted a few more in the third quarter too, before pulling away after the hour with a fine try from Matthew Tait and two from giant winger Vereniki Goneva.
At least Wasps were not nilled. Tommy Bell put a wild kicking afternoon out of his mind to land a penalty and Hugo Southwell snuck over near the end.