Wasps stung late by Lamb
Gloucester moved back to the top of the Guinness Premiership table with an excellent 25-17 win away at Wasps.
Last Updated: 04/05/08 11:24pm
Gloucester ended Wasps' eight-match unbeaten run to move back to the top of the Guinness Premiership table with a 25-17 win at Adams Park.
The Cherry and Whites secured a play-off berth against one of their title rivals thanks to a fast start.
Early tries from James Simpson-Daniel and Mike Tindall helped them build a 15-3 lead that was too much for the home side to claw back.
Despite a rare brace from Raphael Ibanez, Wasps were unable to hang on to their top four place due to Sale's success at Harlequins.
However, they do have a game in hand and will be hoping to get back on the winning trail when they face Newcastle in midweek.
If they fail to secure maximum points against the Falcons then Gloucester, who were the last team to beat Wasps in the league back in January, will be guaranteed a home semi-final.
Simpson-Daniel opened the scoring inside three minutes after Wasps full-back Josh Lewsey had spilled a high ball under pressure from opposite number Iain Balshaw.
Having failed to win at Wasps' home in 18 years Gloucester were clearly boosted by the early breakthrough and grabbed a second score through centre Tindall.
The hosts were ruffled by their rivals opeing salvo, Cipriani missing two penalty attempts before finally making it third time lucky midway through the first half.
Although Ryan Lamb added three more points for Gloucester, Wasps were beginning to come alive and a Tom Voyce run from the left wing led to another penalty.
This time skipper Lawrence Dallaglio opted not to go for the posts, his bravery being rewarded when Ibanez peeled off the back of a powerful driving maul following a lineout to score.
Only some defiant goal-line defence denied Wasps a second try just before the interval, Fraser Waters seeming certain to reach the line until Scottish scrum-half Rory Lawson somehow stopped him with a desperate tackle.
Half time gave Gloucester the chance for well-earned breather and they came out from the break firing on all cylinders again.
Simpson-Daniel claimed a cross-kick from Lamb, beat Lewsey and then slipped the ball out to Olly Morgan for a crucial third score.
Looking to spark his side back into life, Dallaglio once again opted to put a penalty into touch for a lineout with the result being another try for Ibanez.
The Frenchman was the quickest to pounce on a loose ball near the line and dived on it to set up a frantic finish with time ticking away.
Wasps went all out to try and produce a late rally but Gloucester stood firm before striking a killer blow in the final minutes.
Lamb slotted over an injury-time penalty to deny their opponents even a losing bonus point that could prove so crucial in the final standings.