Exiles take sting out of Wasps
Wasps had a disappointing start to their Guinness Premiership title defence as London Irish cruised to a 26-14 win on Saturday.
By Simon Dilger
Last Updated: 08/09/08 11:06am
Wasps began their Guinness Premiership title defence in disappointing fashion as London Irish cruised to an easy 26-14 win at Twickenham on Saturday.
Irish capitalised on the defending champions' weakness at the line-out with Chris Hala'ufia and Richard Thorpe both crossing following mistakes from the set-piece
Peter Hewat maintained a 100 percent kicking record to finish his afternoon with 16 points and guarantee victory for the Exiles.
Hala'ufia's score came in the sixth-minute after Richard Birkett's attempted catch deflected into the hands of the Tongan number eight, who went over from close range.
Hewat soon added that conversion, with a penalty to give Irish a 10-0 lead and a sustained period of pressure by the Exiles was rewarded with another penalty by the Australian full-back.
Wasps lineout difficulties were again exposed in the 54th minute when Thorpe came up with the ball and brushed off a poor tackle from Tom Voyce to score.
Tom Rees and Eoin Reddan both touched down for Wasps in the final quarter to give the scoreline some respectability.
Rees exploited the gap in a static Irish defence and Ireland scrum-half Reddan capitalised on a slip by player-coach Mike Catt to cross late on.
But two quick penalties from Hewat put the result beyond doubt and gives Irish, who missed out on Heineken Cup qualification after finishing seventh last season, a perfect start to their campaign.