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Flimsy defence exposed as Chiefs take Wasps scalp
WASPS were handed their now customary defeat by Exeter Chiefs as they did next to nothing right at Sandy Park this afternoon.
Their attack lacked punch and their defence was as porous as at any stage last season as Chiefs breezed to victory with three unanswered tries before Wasps at last responded.
And if anything, the gap between the sides was greater than the scoreboard suggests as the home side played with purpose and pace while Wasps huffed and puffed without making any inroads until the match was virtually over.
Wasps were at fault for all three of the Exeter tries, with missed tackles and poor handling costing them each time but, equally worrying, they had enough ball in good arears of the pitch to hurt Exeter when it mattered.
But the game was gone by the time Christian Wade and Ashley Johnson went over after 70 and 79 minutes to at least snatch a losing bonus point.
Wasps have now lost ten games in a row in all competitions, a winless sequence stretching back to February 17. It's very early in the campaign and Wasps have certainly faced greater predicaments than this in recent years, but Sale away next Friday suddenly has that must-win feel to it.
Dai Young welcomed back captain Chris Bell and Ashley Johnson, while Josh Bassett started his first competitive game on the wing following the midweek injury to Tom Varndell.
Other than that it was the same team that started at Twickenham last week charged with ending Wasps' near three-year losing sequence against the Chiefs.
And they made a bright start, controlling Exeter's kick-off, winning a penalty to gain 30m and then winning another within range of the posts.
Goode did the honours, showing no ill-effects of his late Twickenham miss to put Wasps 3-0 up inside two minutes.
Another penalty came with nine minutes gone and again the Wasps fly half was equal to it, stretching the lead to 6-0 after a near-perfect start from the visitors.
However, Exeter in front of their own fans are a powerful force and they didn't take long to wrestle back the initiative.
A Gareth Steenson penalty after 12 minutes got them on the board and they went in front three minutes later when Tom Johnson skipped through tackles from Charlie Hayter and Jake Cooper-Wooley to go over.
They weren't the only missed Wasps tackles in the move though, and defence coach Brad Davis wouldn't have been impressed as Steenson slipped through a crowd to make 30m and set up the attacking platform a few phases earlier.
The conversion made it 10-6, and although Goode replied with his third penalty Wasps gave it away immediately as they were penalised direct from the restart.
Steenson duly made it 13-9, and Wasps were further behind the eight ball when Johnson blotted his copybook with a high tackle that earned him a yellow card with six minutes of the half remaining.
Wasps did finish the half strongly and got their reward with another Goode penalty, but 16-12 down at the break felt like a precarious position - and so it turned out.
They needed to score first to stay in contention, but after a cagey start to the second half it was Exeter who made the breakthrough with their second try of the game.
Again Wasps didn't do themselves any favours, with Wade at fault this time when he won the footrace to reach a kick through but then spilled the ball as he fell on it.
James Scaysbrook stormed over, Steenson converted and Wasps were suddenly floundering at 23-12.
And it only got worse.
Just minutes later Wasps' defence was shambolic again as Tom James brushed through Hayter and then burst through three more yellow shirts to run home from 50m.
The conversion made it 30-12, and Wade and Johnson's late scores did little to ease concerns.
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