Wasps too good for Falcons
By Ben Blackmore
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
A fine performance from Mathew Tait could not inspire Newcastle at Adams Park.
Wasps took temporary residence at the top of the Guinness Premiership with a 35-15 victory over Newcastle Falcons at Adams Park.
Mathew Tait inspired a 15-minute purple patch for the Falcons as they raced into a 12-3 first half lead, but some non-existent defending once again haunted the visitors who leaked five tries.
Daniel Leo, Tom Voyce, Tom Rees, Paul Sackey and Josh Lewsey all went over for the Londoners, cancelling out efforts from Tait and Jamie Noon.
Wasps were able to add Phil Vickery, Lawrence Dallaglio and Mark van Gisbergen to a side that had already won three from four in the Premiership this season.
All the attention surrounding Newcastle's team selection focused on the deployment of Tait at inside centre, on a day that gave England boss Andy Robinson plenty of incite into his midfield options. Tait and Noon lined up outside Toby Flood at 12 and 13 for the Falcons, while Lewsey took on the three-quarters responsibilities for Wasps.
In the end, it was the England Sevens star who caught the eye, but he could not inspire a Newcastle triumph as Wasps exploited a poor visiting defence.
Tait's first contribution came seven minutes into the contest, dumping opposite number Fraser Waters to the turf to set the tone for a superb performance from the 20-year-old.
Following a crucial tackle on Voyce in his own 22, Tait suddenly displayed his prowess going the other way, bursting onto James Grindal's offload to flash pass Van Gisbergen for 7-3.
Five minutes later it was time for Noon to showcase his credentials, appearing on Matt Burke's shoulder to coast over after the former Wallaby full-back had intelligently evaded Wasps' rush defence.
Burke missed the conversion but Newcastle were looking comfortable at 12-3, until Jason Oakes earned an unnecessary yellow for stamping on Dallaglio's ankle.
Staunton immediately cut the deficit to six points with a penalty, and he then nudged his side ahead on 25 minutes after Leo was given the freedom of Adams Park to score under the posts.
Wasps were taking full advantage of Oakes' absence and, helped by some poor Falcons tackling, Tom Palmer and Voyce used the decoy of an overlap for the latter to crash over for 18-12. Adding insult to injury, the bloodied heads of Noon and Eni Gesinde had to leave the field as a direct result of their efforts to stop the try, with Joe Shaw replacing the England man as a permanent substitution.
Newcastle's defence was deteriorating as quickly as John Fletcher's mood as half-time approached, and they conceded a third score before the break - gifting Wasps acres of room out wide, which the bursting Tom Rees gratefully accepted.
Within a minute of the restart the highly-rated flanker was tormenting the Falcons' rearguard once again, and the visitors were grateful for the efforts of Tait and Tim Visser as Sackey was halted just five yards from the whitewash.
At 25-12 down Fletcher introduced Visser hoping the Dutch winger could add to his record of three tries from four appearances, but Wasps' relentless attack kept the Falcons on the back foot.
Once again it was Tait making the last-ditch tackle on Waters, although Rees really should have rendered the Newcastle star's efforts futile.
A Flood three-pointer reduced the deficit to 10 points with less than 20 minutes to play, but Alex King came on to create the try that clinched both the match and the bonus point for Wasps.
King stepped inside two defenders to create the room for Dallaglio to advance, and the ball eventually worked its way to Sackey for a simple score in the corner.
Newcastle pressed late on for a losing bonus point, but it was Lewsey who had the last laugh - converting a breakaway for Wasps' fifth score of the afternoon.