Wasps 24 Leicester 22: Joe Simpson and Dave Walder inspire muddy great win

By Rob Wildman

Wasps put aside today's 'Mudgate' inquiry to show the champions Leicester that they can still be title contenders.

While Danny Cipriani continues his comeback from a broken leg in a reserve match at Henley tonight, Wasps officials will tell a Premiership hearing why they refused to play at Sale 10 days ago.

The match was controversially called off while 8,000 spectators at Edgeley Park were waiting for kick-off. Wasps will claim that the pitch was too dangerous and Tony Hanks, the director of rugby, said he hoped the inquiry would make a decision based on 'common sense'.

Nice try: Leicester's Scott Hamilton fails to stop England and Wasps wing Paul Sackey on the line

Nice try: Scott Hamilton fails to stop Wasps wing Paul Sackey on the line

Ironically, Wasps had to play on an Adams Park pitch that had been saturated by heavy overnight rain, but they found the best footing through the nimble work of half-backs Joe Simpson and Dave Walder who engineered an 18-12 half-time lead.

Simpson demonstrated his startling speed early on by catching out a slow Leicester defence in the sixth minute. His initiative to grab the ball and break from a tap penalty gave a half-chance to Paul Sackey who touched down despite the clinging efforts of Scott Hamilton.

DON'T GO DANNY

Lawrence Dallaglio has urged Danny Cipriani to stay at Wasps for the benefit of his England career after confirming the club have opened new contract negotiations with the fly-half.

Dallaglio said: ‘Every player is entitled to look elsewhere but one has to remember where the best chance of getting international rugby is. Danny was born to play for Wasps.’

Wasps' second try was even better - by far the sweetest moment of a low-key reunion between two of England's most successful clubs.

This time Leicester's tormentor was Walder, the player Cipriani must shift to reclaim his outside-half berth. Walder kicked 14 points and made the break off a scrum in the 36th minute which gave centre Steve Kefu an easy run to score under the posts.

Leicester were left to ponder a porous defence and work out how they had failed to build on an early advantage when they looked to have the scrummaging power to dominate.

MATCH STATS

WASPS: van Gisbergen; Sackey, Waldouck, Kefu (Jacobs 57min), Varndell; Walder, Simpson; Payne, Webber, Broster, Shaw, Birkett (Leo 57), Hart (Matthews 79), Betsen (capt), Ward-Smith.

LEICESTER: Hamilton; J Murphy (Tuilagi 52), Allen, Mauger (capt), Tuqiri; Flood, Youngs; Ayerza, Davies (Chuter 52), Cole, L Deacon (Kay 69), Parling, B Deacon (Newby 66), Moody, Crane.

REFEREE: Chris White.

Wasps' tenacity never allowed Leicester to use that power until the final moments when Jordan Crane's scrambled try from a scrum gained a losing bonus point.

Up to that point, Leicester had relied on the goal-kicking of Toby Flood to keep in touch. He landed five penalty goals from eight attempts.

But assistant coach Matt O'Connor said: 'We let ourselves down by making too many errors which took the pressure off Wasps.'

Simpson was singled out for special praise from Wasps head coach Shaun Edwards, who said: 'He's got the razzle-dazzle and played with a great deal of maturity.'


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