Bonus point London Wasps ease past London Welsh

London Wasps ensured that their end of year finished on a high when they beat London Welsh 15-34 with a bonus point at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford.

Joe Simpson had an outstanding game as Wasps came from behind with tries from
wing Elliot Daly, replacement prop Will Taylor and, right at the end, a fourth
try for wing Tom Varndell.

Welsh fly-half Gordon Ross kicked all his side’s points with five penalties,
while Wasps fly-half Nicky Robinson landed three penalties, Daly booted one
and replacement stand-off Stephen Jones kicked the only conversion of the match.

Wasps were looking for to repeat their win over the Exiles at Adams Park, Wycombe,
back in October.

Welsh, meanwhile, needed to bounce back from a 13-6 loss at Worcester.

Although not in any immediate danger at the wrong end of the table after basement
side Sale Sharks beat Worcester on Friday night, revenge on their near neighbours
would be welcome for head coach Lyn Jones if only to steer them further away
from the dogfight below them.

The first half-hour was dominated by the boot, both with positional kicks and
shots at goal, as first Welsh took a six-point advantage and then saw it clawed
back by their visitors.

There was not a great deal to choose between them up front but the most obvious
mistake made by the field kickers, Welsh full-back Tom Arscott a particular
offender – was booting the ball straight into touch and losing the territory
that would have gained.

Wasps could have led handsomely at the interval had they taken the majority
of their goal kicks. Daly missed a long-range effort for the visitors before
an excellent scrum from the Exiles and an offside decision given their way saw
Ross secure two successes.

But the lead did not last long as ex-Wales international Robinson levelled matters
with two penalties but then sent two more penalties wide of the uprights from
similar distances of 25 metres.

Ross, on the other hand, was deadly accurate at that short range. As Welsh frustrated
their opponents and the front row of Franck Montanella, Neil Briggs and James
Tideswell caused havoc for opponents Zak Taulafo, Rhys Thomas and Phil Swainston,
Ross secured another two goals to take his side into a 12-6 interval lead.

But, even though the ball may have been greasy from the earlier rain, there
was little excuse for a poor first-half with hardly any invention in attack
towards either try-line.

Robinson reduced the arrears after the break to three points with his third
penalty before a piece of individual magic took the match up a gear.

In what will surely be one of the contenders for try of the season, Simpson
took the ball from a line-out thirty metres from the Welsh line, went through
a gap at the back and embarked on a diagonal sprint across the pitch.

He looked to be going nowhere but somehow found a gap towards the line. The
scrum-half ran through three tackles and got past desperate defence on the line
to touch down and leave everyone in the crowd amazed.

Robinson failed with the conversion but that put Wasps two points to the good
and, when Daly kicked a thumping penalty from fully 53 metres, it was the turning
point of the contest.

Wasps were on top and they threatened to leave Welsh with nothing to show for
their efforts when Daly sprinted down the right wing to just get in for the
second try of the game.

Welsh would not lay down, and Ross’ fifth penalty put them within sight of Wasps.
But a final killer converted try from replacement Will Taylor saw Wasps home
and dry.

Vardnell went over on 83 minutes to get the bonus point and put Wasps challenging
for a top four place on Saturday.

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