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Wasps wingers top Premiership try-scoring charts
WASPS didn't sign off with a victory at Sale today, but they do boast the Premiership's joint top try-scorers after two more scores from Christian Wade drew him level at the top of the charts with Tom Varndell on 13.
The pair set a new Wasps record in the process, overtaking Josh Lewsey's 12 and claiming between them a staggering 55 per cent of their team's tries this year.
But Wade's double wasn't enough to prevent the black and golds ending the campaign with a eight-game losing run that sends the players off for the summer break with a slightly sour taste in their mouths.
Eighth place is a substantial stride forward from last year, but compared to what seemed possible in February it resembles an anti-climax.
In fact, even this game ended a little flat.
Wasps led 17-15 with 15 minutes left and then rallied again to lead 20-18 after Sale had momentarily snatched back the advantage.
But another Sale penalty made it 21-20 and Elliot Daly, with virtually the last kick of the season, couldn't unwrite the script with a 60m penalty that dropped short.
Wasps will feel hard done by - they've won games playing worse - but overall they were at best on a par with their hosts.
They spent most of the first 40 minutes without the ball, although they were rarely stretched by the home team.
Despite that though, they still managed to concede two tries. The first was well-worked by the Sharks, who probed across the pitch before finally sucking Wasps defenders inside and then flinging the ball wide for winger Tom Brady to touch down unopposed.
That came after seven minutes, and they were over again with 21 minutes on the clock with a score that would have made the Wasps coaches' eyes water.
A high Sale kick towards the corner started it. Wasps had two men waiting underneath the ball, but neither tried to catch it and a wicked 90 degree bounce resulted in a 5m line out.
That was poor enough from Wasps, but they compounded the error with a crazy, long line-out to Ashley Johnson, who was waiting beside the near upright.
The moment he caught the ball he was swamped by Sale forwards and the upshot was a try for Dan Braid.
Even more annoying for Wasps, the try came just two minutes after they had taken the lead themselves.
Christian Wade was their try scorer with a fairly routine finish after Joe Simpson's tap and go, and Tommy Bell's conversion had made it 7-5.
But they handed the initiative back almost immediately and did well to reach the interval just 12-7 behind as Sale, who were also wayward off the tee, ended the period pressuring the Wasps line.
Wasps were pushed back inside their own 22 at the start of the second period too, and that's where they remained for the next 15 minutes.
It wasn't until Nick Macleod knocked over a 56th minute penalty that Wasps got out of their own half from the restart, and they certainly made it count as a majestic break from Hugo Southwell left the Sale line in tatters.
The hosts scrambled back, but Wasps recycled quickly and there was Wade again to dart through the narrowest of gaps for his second of the match and 13th of the Premiership season.
That drew him level with Tom Varndell at the top of the charts, while Bell's conversion followed quickly by a penalty eased Wasps into a 17-15 lead.
Sale snatched the advantage back with a penalty 14 minutes from time, but Joe Simpson wrestled it back with a signature 40m break.
It didn't result in a try, but a penalty in front of the posts was nearly as good and Bell did the honours to make it 20-18.
But another Sale penalty swung the pendulum again and not even Daly, who has a habit of seizing the moment, could rescue Wasps.
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