Champions Wasps powered home three second-half tries to sink London Irish today in the Zurich Premiership.
Wasps made light of the internationals calls which deprived them of England’s Josh Lewsey, Joe Worsley and Matt Dawson, along with Ireland’s Jonny O’Connor as they produced a superb performance after the interval.
Centre Rob Hoadley, who joined them from London Irish during the summer, returned to the Madejski Stadium to make the breakthrough against his old club when Simon Shaw’s short pass sent him in for the opening try in the 43rd minute.
Then Wasps took full advantage after Irish were reduced to 14 men for the second time in the match when flanker Paul Gustard was yellow-carded in the 54th minute.
Two minutes later right-wing Tom Voyce’s strength took him through the Irish defence for Wasps second try and two minutes after that an excellent passing move ended with an easy try for replacement lock Richard Birkett who went over unchallenged.
Full-back Mark van Gisbergen contributed 18 points, landing four first-half penalties and the three second-half conversions.
Irish replied with three penalties and a 35-metre drop goal from fly-half Mark Mapletoft before right-wing Scott Staniforth ran in a late consolation try.
Tipperary star Barry Everitt, who had replaced Mapletoft, added the conversion to become the fourth Premiership player to reach 1,000 points, joining Jonny Wilkinson, Tim Stimpson and Paul Grayson.
The other two players sin-binned were London Irish winger Justin Bishop in the 29th minute and Wasps hooker Phil Greening five minutes later.
With both sides committing themselves to attacking open rugby, the only surprise was that neither team had managed a try earlier.
Wasps scrum-half Peter Richards denied Staniforth by preventing him from grounding the ball after centre Nils Mordt sent him in between the posts in the 28th minute.
Then Irish looked almost certain to concede when Hoadley intercepted a telegraphed pass from Mapletoft and kicked over the defence but, under pressure from second-row Nick Kennedy, he just failed to grasp the opportunity.
Wasps piled on the pressure in the closing stages in an attempt to grab a fourth try which would have secured them a bonus point but they were denied by some desperate defending from Irish.