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LV=Cup: London Wasps beat London Irish 22-15 in well-contested clash
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Wasps collected their first LV=Cup victory of the season with a deserved 22-15 win over Premiership rivals London Irish.
Irish remain winless in the competition and on paper they had the stronger side, but a poor start and missed goal kicks by the visitors cost them the match.
Each team scored three tries but seven points from the boot of Joe Carlisle was the decisive factor.
Wasps had built up and early 19-5 lead with tries from Charlie Davies, Ed Jackson and Josh Bassett, before Irish responded with tries from Chris Hala'ufia and Jamie Hagan to add to an earlier one from Sailosi Tagicakibau.
The game was marred by an injury to Irish centre Guy Armitage, who left the field on a stretcher midway through the second half.
Considering both sides had no chance of progressing to the next round of the competition, the game was a well-contested one with both sides keen to entertain before poor conditions set in to ruin the second half.
Wasps took a fourth minute lead with a well-created try. Will Helu made a strong run to take the home side into the opposition 22 and when the ball was recycled, Davies was on hand to nip over for the try which Carlisle converted.
Irish responded with an excellent try of their own. Tomas O'Leary's speculative kick from inside his own 22 was collected by Topsy Ojo, who made ground down the right flank before Irish moved the ball sweetly along the line to give Tagicakibau an opportunity. The wing took his chance in some style by evading two defenders on a 45-metre run to the line.
However, Wasps continued to have the better of the opening quarter and it came as no surprise when they extended their lead. A clever kick and chase from Carlisle saw the hosts win a lineout 5 metres out from which Jackson drove over.
Six minutes later and Wasps were over again. A long pass from Andrew Suniula found Bassett for the wing to step inside a weak tackle from Ojo for the try, which Carlisle converted to give his side a healthy 19-5 lead.
Irish then had their best period of the first half and were rewarded when Hala'ufia crashed over from close range to keep the visitors in contention at the interval.
Irish made wholesale changes at half time with influential players O'Leary, Shane Geraghty and Hala'ufia all being replaced.
Both teams struggled to come terms with the difficult weather conditions which had deteriorated considerably during the half time break.
Carlisle had the half's first chance of points but he fired wide with his penalty attempt before the game was delayed. Following a lengthy disruption, during which the players took the unusual step of leaving the field due to the incessant rain, Armitage was carried off the field on a stretcher.
After a featureless third quarter Irish scored the third try when replacement prop, Hagan, finished off some sustained pressure. The visitors again missed the conversion kick and were made to pay when Carlisle sealed the game with a late penalty.
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|Sunday 1st February|
|14:00||Wasps vs Cardiff Blues|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Saracens|
|14:30||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Exeter|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Sale Sharks|
|Saturday 7th February|
|14:00||Sale Sharks vs Scarlets|
|14:30||Cardiff Blues vs Leicester|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Harlequins|
|15:00||Bath vs Ospreys|
|15:00||London Irish vs Newcastle|
|15:15||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Sunday 8th February|
|14:30||Newport Gwent D'gons vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Saracens vs Exeter|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com