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Wasps top pool after Grenoble double
WASPS got nowhere near the heights of last weekend's resounding victory in France, but they did enough to beat Grenoble again and make it four wins in four in the Amlin Challenge Cup.
They got two tries in their 32-12 win at Adams Park today compared to the seven they plundered away from home - and missing out on the try bonus here might yet hurt the black and golds - but for now they are well-placed on top of pool four and will be virtually guaranteed a quarter-final spot if they get anything at all from a trip to Bayonne next month.
Having put more than 40 points Grenoble in their own backyard last week, Wasps might have expected it to be one way traffic when they brought the Frenchmen back to Wycombe.
But it wasn't like that in the early stages with the visitors catching Wasps cold at kick off and dictating terms for the first ten.
Apart from winning and missing a penalty, their pack laid a number of decent attacking platforms at scrum time and further penalties kicked to the corner underlined their ambitions.
But the Wasps line never looked remotely threatened, and once they'd worked up a sweat themselves points started to come fairly regularly.
Joe Carlisle scored the first six of them with penalties after 14 and 19 minutes, while James Haskell crashed over for the opening try with 20 minutes gone after a collect and off load from Matt Mullan that a scrum half would have been proud of.
Carlisle converted and then added a third penalty for 16-0, and Wasps would gone to the break further in front but for a fumble forwards and a foot in touch as first Will Helu and then Elliot Daly went over the whitewash.
However, it wasn't quite as simple as that.
Injuries to Ben Jacobs and then Jack Moates sliced Wasps' backline resources to the bone, with poor Daly suffering the most; he started the match at full back, was then moved to the centre to fill a gap and by half time was somewhere else again, filling another, playing at scrum half for the first time in his life.
With such distractions, Wasps were always going to struggle for fluency and while they were resetting, Grenoble pounced to change the momentum of the match.
They ended the first period camped on Wasps' line and began the second period the exact same way, getting their reward after 45 minutes when Ratu Ratini went over.
Nicolaz Bezy added the extras and could have closed the gap further with a long-range penalty shortly afterwards.
By then Grenoble had emptied their bench in a now-or-never gesture, and they were given further encouragement when Tom Varndell slipped to allow Ratini over for his second try.
But it was never. Wasps kept Grenoble at a safe distance with three more penalties – including a 60m effort from Daly – before Varndell and Wasps accelerated away to make it 32-12 at the end.
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