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Tigers feel Wasps' home sting

Sun, 25 Nov 2012 20:04
Christian-wade-wasps-630 Gareth-steenson-exeter-chie Tom-varndell-wasps
We had eight players away on international duty
Quote-end

London Wasps sneaked past Leicester Tigers 14-12 to maintain their 100 percent record at Adams Park this season.

Tom Varndell scored an early try before Nick Robinson and half-time replacement Lee Thomas cancelled out the boot of Leicester's George Ford in reply, much to Director of Rugby Dai Young's joy.

"We gave a lot of penalties away which kept them in the game but some of our young guys out there were great," he said.

"The two young props Simon McIntyre and Phil Swainston did very well, James Cannon in the second row really stood up, Elliot Daly was a real threat out wide and Sam Jones came off the bench and contributed to a good back-row effort again."

In the other Sunday game London Irish director of Brian Smith was left cursing absent friends as his side slipped to a 27-23 Premiership defeat at the hands of Exeter Chiefs.

With eight players on international duty, including star first-teamers Jonathan Joseph and David Paice, and another eight out injured Irish welcomed an almost first-string Chiefs side to the Madejski Stadium.

The Devon side's strength was epitomised by the fact that they could afford to leave released England flank Tom Johnson on the bench.

And the Exiles certainly found it tough work at home as they got off to a disastrous start, watching as Phil Dollman crossed for a try and Gareth Steenson kicked three penalties.

Luke Arscott extended the Chiefs' lead before Leo Halavatu and Topsy Ojo started an Exiles fightback.

Ian Humphreys kicked Irish ahead late on but Steenson replied to boot Exeter Chiefs to a first away win this Premiership campaign.

"We had eight players away on international duty and we have got another eight players injured so in many ways we had to fight with one hand tied behind our back," he added.

"But we knew that at the beginning of the season and the guys who played all had a crack and gave it 100 per cent and as a coach that's all you can ask for.

"It was just a case of getting a bad start. We made defensive errors because it was a little bit slippery and it cost us tries but it's very rare that a try is scored from one error, it's normally a chain reaction.

"It's an error that is compounded and sometimes there's three errors in a row that lead to a try being scored.

"When you have 15 blokes running around defending you can cover other people's errors but not here, when we made a mistake we got punished for it."

We look at all Sunday's action!

London Wasps 14-12 Leicester Tigers

Leicester Tigers' Adams Park woes continued as Tom Varndell scored against his former club to lead London Wasps to a 14-12 victory.

Richard Cockerill's men headed south knowing that they hadn't tasted victory at the home of Wasps since September 2007.

And they couldn't have asked for a worse start as Varndell grabbed his eighth Premiership try of the season in the opening minutes.

And although the boot of George Ford kept Leicester in the game, penalties from opposite number Nick Robinson and replacement Lee Thomas got Wasps over the line, continuing their 100 per cent home record at Adams Park.

Wasps couldn't have asked for a better start as they looked to continue their fine form at Adams Park as Varndell went over after just three minutes.

After a quick tap and go from Billy Vunipola the ball found its way into the hands of Elliot Daly, the centre flinging the ball out left to Varndell who went over in the corner despite the best efforts of Tigers fullback Matthew Tait on his first Premiership start of the season.

The left-footed Robinson was left with a tough conversion by the sideline and his effort sailed wide.

But the home side's frantic start to the game continued as Christian Wade nearly joined his fellow wing Varndell on the scoresheet just two minutes later with what would have been a contender for try of the season.

Picking the ball up on the left wing Wade cut inside and showed some quick feet to break through tackles but was held up inches short thanks to a superb tackle by Tigers' Niall Morris.

However, despite Wade being denied a sensational try Wasps did extend their lead as Robinson knocked over a penalty.

Ford got Leicester on the scoresheet with a tenth-minute penalty but the Wasps' pack were having plenty of joy at the scrum against Leicester's and they gave both Daly and Robinson penalty attempts to stretch the hosts' lead.

The first effort from Daly was inside his own half and although it had the distance it lacked direction and sailed wide while Robinson was afforded a closer position in front of the posts but his effort struck the left upright.

Wasps were made to rue those missed chances as Ford added his second penalty on 34 minutes to cut the deficit to just two points.

And when Graham Kitchener was pulled down at a lineout three minutes later Ford had the chance to put the Tigers ahead for the first time but his effort sailed wide and Wasps held on to lead 8-6 at half-time.

But Ford did put Leicester ahead four minutes after the restart after Wasps were penalised at a scrum just outside their own 22.

Varndell thought he had his second try on 47 minutes as he went over in the left corner again but Hugo Southwell's clever pass had gone forward.

Wasps did retake the lead when half-time replacement Thomas struck a penalty on 53 minutes, and the same player extended the lead with another long-range three-pointer shortly after.

Ford got Leicester back to within two points of their hosts with an easy penalty on the hour but he fluffed his lines when he was afforded another chance to put his side back in front.

Thomas then had the chance to give Wasps some breathing space with five minutes to go with a penalty of his own but he was narrowly wide with his booming effort, but it didn't matter as the home side held on for the victory, condemning Tigers to a fourth-straight away defeat.

The scorers:

For London Wasps:
Try:
Varndell
Pens: Robinson, Thomas 2

For Leicester Tigers:
Pens:
Ford 4

Teams:

London Wasps: 15 Hugo Southwell (captain), 14 Tom Varndell, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Chris Bell, 11 Christian Wade, 10 Nick Robinson, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Jonathan Poff, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 James Cannon, 3 Phil Swainston, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Tim Payne.
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Will Taylor, 19 Josh Brown, 20 Sam Jones, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Tommy Bell, 23 Lee Thomas.

Leicester Tigers: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Niall Morris, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 George Ford, 9 Sam Harrison, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Jordan Crane, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Louis Deacon (captain), 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 George Chuter, 1 Jonny Harris.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Michael Holford, 18 Kieran Brookes, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Richard Thorpe, 21 Patrick Phibbs, 22 Dan Bowden, 23 Geordan Murphy.

Referee: Sean Davey
Assistant referees: Gareth Copsey Kevin Stewart
TMO: Graham Hughes

London Irish 23-27 Exeter Chiefs

London Irish flyhalf Ian Humphreys' three-minute absence from the action at the Madejski Stadium proved pivotal in setting Exeter Chiefs up for their first Premiership away win this season by a score of 27-23.

With Exeter racing into a 21-3 lead after just 20 minutes, it was the Irish No.10s 13 points and tactical play which clawed his side back into the game.

But when his team won a 58th minute penalty to re-take the lead, Humphreys was receiving treatment on the side of the pitch.

Fullback Tom Homer stepped up but erred with the execution leaving Humphreys' opposite man Gareth Steenson to kick the winning points two minutes from time.

Exeter had come out of the blocks much quicker with tries from Phil Dollman and Luke Arscott but the Exiles replied before halftime through Leo Halavatau and then just after the break via Topsy Ojo.

But although the home side briefly took a 23-21 lead in the second half they sunk to another defeat and are now winless in the Premiership since the beginning of October.

Chiefs centre Dollman was on the scoresheet after just two minutes with a determined charge to the line in the left-hand corner.

Wing Matt Jess had made the outside break into Irish's 22 to set up the try and although Steenson failed with the conversion, he then hit three penalties on the spin.

Irish were simply not at the races but Humphreys had got his side on the scoreboard, in between his opposite man's trio of three-pointers, with a penalty from in front of the posts.

But at 14-3 up, the Chiefs' superb start was still in full cry and Jess was again the catalyst.

The Coventry-born wing leapt onto livewire scrumhalf Haydn Thomas's pass and steamed through a gap in Irish's defence before offloading to his supporting fullback Arscott to dive over and Steenson easily converted.

Humphreys doubled Irish's tally to six just after 20 minutes but thoughts of getting even with Exeter by putting the ball through the hands had to be abandoned as the rain came thundering down.

Instead Irish tightened up and the home side drove prop Halavatau over in the right corner with his flyhalf converting from a testing angle to make it 21-13 to the Devon side at half-time.

Irish continued their resurgence after the break as No. 8 Chris Hala'ufia made a break close to the ruck.

When the ball came back, Humphreys kicked the ball to the right wing and the ball bounced perfectly for Ojo to slide onto for a superb try.

Humphreys converted and then struck a penalty from the halfway line to give the Exiles a 23-21 lead which seemed improbable just minutes earlier.

It kicked the Chiefs back into action, particularly the forward pack, who put the squeeze on the Exiles' eight and won a penalty for Steenson re-take the lead.

The Exiles then earnt a shot a goal from wide on the left but Humphreys was absent and Homer could not find the mark.

Exeter saw out a fraught finale but Steenson added the gloss to a hard-won game with a late penalty to end their away day woes.

The scorers:

For London Irish:
Tries:
Halavatau, Ojo
Cons: Humphreys 2
Pens: Humphreys 3

For Exeter Chiefs:
Tries:
Dollman, Arscott
Con: Steenson
Pens: Steenson 5

Teams:

London Irish:  15 Tom Homer, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 12 Shane Geraghty, 11 Anthony Watson, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Darren Allinson, 8 Chris Hala'ufia, 7 Jamie Gibson, 6 Declan Danaher (captain), 5 Bryn Evans, 4 Matt Garvey, 3 Leo Halavatau, 2 Brian Blaney, 1 Max Lahiff.
Replacements: 16 Gerard Ellis 17 Richard Palframan, 18 Cai Griffiths, 19 Kieran Low, 20 Alex Gray, 21 Conor Gaston, 22 Steven Shingler, 23 Jack Moates.

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Phil Dollman, 12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 Richard Baxter, 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Dean Mumm, 5 James Hanks, Tom Hayes (captain), 3 Carl Rimmer, 2 Chris Whitehead, 1 Brett Sturgess.
Replacements: 16 Simon Alcott, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Hoani Tui, 19 Aly Muldowney, 20 Tom Johnson, 21 Kevin Barrett, 22 Ignacio Mieres, 23 Sireli Naqelevuki.

Referee: Llyr Apgeraint-Roberts
Assistant referees: Roy Maybank, Alan Hughes

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