Bonus-point win lifts Wasps three clear

WASPS director of rugby Tony Hanks was delighted with the pay-off for the hard work which ensured yesterday’s Heineken Cup clash with Newport Gwent Dragons went ahead.

His side romped to a 37-10 bonus-point victory in front of a 1,236 crowd at Adams Park that lifted them three clear of Toulouse in Pool Six.

The match was given the green light less than three hours before kick-off with a lack of medical support staff threatening to force its postponement. “We were rapt that the game was played. It’s credit to everyone involved getting the game on by getting the right areas clear,” Hanks said.

“It shows what you can do if you invest in your pitch. We were also pleased at the number who braved the elements because they had to walk to the game if they wanted to come.”

Hooker Joe Ward, full-back Mark van Gisbergen, winger Tom Varndell and scrum-half Nic Berry crossed while man of the match Dave Walder finished with 17 points as Wasps ran riot.

Toulouse should return to the Pool’s summit when their showdown with Glasgow is staged tomorrow, and with fixtures against the Scottish side and Toulouse (at home) to come, Wasps now have a great chance of qualifying.

“We looked in good shape in the second half. That allowed us to play the rugby we wanted to right until the end,” Hanks added.

“We have a lot of respect for the Dragons and to be fair to them they really came at us. We’re pleased because we beat a good team. It sets the pool up well but we’ve got a pretty tough trip away to Glasgow in the next game.”

England centre Riki Flutey made his first appearance since sustaining a calf injury in October and proved influential after stepping off the bench for the final quarter.

“Riki’s worked really hard and had I told him to wait another week he’d probably have throttled me,” Hanks said. “It’s been a long time since he’s played, so it was good to get him out there and get some contact.”

Dragons coach Paul Turner said he gave his side a roasting after the final whistle.

“At half-time we felt we were well in it but then we gave three points to Walder and our game just went,” he said. “If you leave things on the table against Wasps they’ll punish you and that’s what they did. I’m pretty disappointed and there were a few harsh words said afterwards.”

Scorers for Wasps: Tries: Ward, van Gisbergen, Varndell, Berry. Cons: Walder 4. Pens: Walder 3.

Scorers for Newport-Gwent D’gons: Try: A. Brew. Con: M. Jones. Pens: M. Jones.

WASPS: M van Gisbergen; T Varndell, B Jacobs, S Kefu, D Lemi; D Walder, J Simpson; Z Taulafo, J Ward, B Broster; S Shaw, J Cannon; J Worsley, S Betsen, A Powell.

Replacements: R Flutey for Kefu (60), N Berry for Simpson (67), R Haughton for Ward (67), B Baker for Broster (68), M Veale for Worsley (70).

NEWPORT-GWENT D’GONS: P Leach; A Hughes, T Riley, A Smith, A Brew; M Jones, W Evans; H Gustafson, S Jones, B Castle; L Charteris, S Morgan; L Evans, G Thomas, T Faletau.

Replacements: T Cheeseman for Hughes (75), J Leadbeater for W. Evans (71), L Burns for S. Jones (54), R Sidoli for Charteris (41), D Lydiate for Faletau (52).

Referee: Christophe Berdos (France).

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