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Wasps survive Warriors comeback to win
Wasps 10, Worcester Warriors 6.
WASPS were left to live on their nerves as they survived a Worcester comeback to hold on for their second successive win at Adams Park.
Simon McIntyre’s early try was ultimately enough to settle the contest but in the opening quarter Wasps had looked rampant and likely to rack up a cricket score.
In the first half Wasps scored ten unanswered points and the visitors never looked as if they were going to penetrate the home defence as they stood strong at scrum time – even winning one against the head – and stole line-out ball on more than one occasion.
A dire second, error-laden, period was a different story as Wasps failed to build on the foundations they had laid and allowed Worcester a foothold in the game.
In the end they were grateful to hold on – but a win is a win and it was enough to take them above their opponents.
When the first points were put on the board with just three minutes on the clock it looked like Wasps were going to have a field day.
James Haskell led the initial charge as he crashed through a couple of attempted tackles before Billy Vunipola, as he had been against Northampton last week, was used as the battering ram to open the door in the defence that McIntyre – in for the suspended Tim Payne – walked through.
Stephen Jones knocked over the extras before Andy Goode clattered the upright with Worcester’s only first half kick at goal, with Wasps hurriedly having to bundle the ball into touch on their 22 with Warriors piling in.
That was all there was to worry about before the break but in a game low on quality Wasps didn't make the inroads they should have after such a promising start
The foray forward brought just a penalty, comfortably landed by Jones, but it was to Worcester’s credit they were able to prevent further scoring as Wasps dominated possession and territory.
Dai Young had warned in the build-up that his side would need to keep Goode quiet if they were going to get anything from the game and the players responded, wrapping him up before he had the opportunity to do any damage.
The closest Worcester came to getting points on the board saw David Lemi fail to take advantage of a three on one break as his former team mates were able to close him down before he got in sight of the line, and Wasps reached the break without having their defence breached.
That statistic was wiped from the records within four minutes of the restart however as Goode curled a difficult kick from out wide between the posts to make it 10-3. An Adams Park first – a missed Jones penalty – then followed as the Welshman’s kick from just inside the Warriors half didn’t quite have the legs to make it over.
Then Goode landed a drop goal from the halfway line and suddenly the gap was down to four points and things weren’t looking quite as rosy for Wasps.
They had forgotten the good things they had done in the first half and Worcester were more easily able to cope when the home side entered their 22.
Joe Simpson almost gave them the breakthrough when he chipped for the corner but Christian Wade was just unable to gather into his midriff under pressure from Goode as he lost the ball and, with it, an easy tryscoring opportunity.
The quality was dropping with Goode fumbling a pass as Warriors looked to break, Marco Wentzel knocking on as Wasps looked to get through again and Jones slicing another penalty wide; tension was rising and hearts were in mouths as a clearing Wasps kick was charged down but the black and golds recovered.
Worcester’s play was error-strewn as well as they twice allowed Wasps to steal line-outs on the 22 as they launched one last push for a matchwinning try. Ashley Johnson and Tom Lindsay both briefly showed moments of class to carry the ball away from danger before being turned over too easily for the Adams Park faithful’s liking.
Simpson looked like he was going to seal things as he unexpectedly streaked clear from the base of a ruck, but again fans were left with head in hands as Worcester firstly held up Chris Bell, then they turned over possession and cleared.
Play switched down the other end and Warriors then had the chance to snatch victory themselves as Goode’s clever crossfield kick just evaded the onrushing Jon Clarke in the corner.
One last frenetic assault on the Wasps line by Worcester came to nothing as frantic, scrambling defence from the home side managed to keep them at bay for a full three minutes until a handling error brought the curtain down on Warriors’ comeback.
Wasps: Southwell, Varndell, Masi (sub Daly), Bell, Wade, Jones, Simpson, McIntyre (sub Swainston), Lindsay, Taulafo, Palmer (sub Poff), Wentzel, Launchbury, Haskell (sub Johnson), Vunipola. Replacements: Rhys Thomas, Staibano, Davies, Robinson.
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