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New look Wasps find their groove
WASPS outscored Connacht four tries to one as they warmed up for next Saturday’s visit of London Irish with a win in Ireland at the weekend.
After pushing Clermont-Auvergne close the previous weekend, Wasps raised the bar in Galway to romp to a 31-7 victory.
Joe Simpson, Sam Jones and Simon McIntyre all went over while a penalty try completed the rout.
Director of rugby Dai Young said: “I thought every area was a step up from last week.
“That is what we asked the players for and we got that from them. I was very impressed with the first half hour up front.
“The set piece went very well and we made a real statement in that period. Next week will be a tougher game again but we will be happy with this win.
“We know there are much bigger challenges to come but all you can ask is that we keep getting better and we are doing that. I have been to Connacht many times before with Cardiff with some very good teams and gone away with nothing so I am pleased.
“The players are now putting pressure on selection and you want that as a coach.”
Tom Varndell fed wing partner Josh Bassett for the first opportunity after three minutes, but while he was forced into touch and Andy Goode missed a 35m penalty, the first points weren’t long in coming as Simpson went over with 15 minutes gone.
Goode’s conversion and subsequent penalty made it 10-0.
Connacht responded with a charge-down try and then enjoyed their best spell of the match as they twice threatened to go over again.
But the defensive improvement under new coach Brad Davis were evident as Wasps held out before increasing their lead on the stroke of half time.
Bassett threatened again after pouncing on a loose ball, but although he was stopped two penalties and a free kick at the resulting 5m scrum led the inevitable penalty try and Goode’s extras made it 17-7 at the break.
Jones added a third try two minutes after the restart following good work from Ed Jackson, and McIntyre put the seal on the proceedings when he crashed over.
Jones said: “We came here knowing we needed to improve on last weekend. We came close to a win there but we played with some good style today.
“We treated this game very seriously and we got our chances and we took them. The front five really delivered at the set piece and things are really looking up for us.
“There are still areas for us to improve on but I thought our defence came on a lot in this game which is pleasing. Brad Davies has come in and changed our structures in how we defend and tonight was a much more complete defensive performance.”
Wasps: Bell, Bassett, Jacobs, Hayter, Varndell, Goode, Simpson, Mullan, Lindsay, Cooper-Wooley, Cannon, Palmer, Jones, Thompson, Jackson. Reps: Cochrane, Swainston, Vea, Myall, Everard, Pitman, Davies, Carlisle, Masi, Moates
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