Friday 15 November 2019

England stars obliterated as Leicester take sting out of Wasps pack

Leicester 34
Wasps 10

Chris Hewett

Any cynics among the sell-out 24,000 audience at Welford Road would say they now fully understand why Wasps once had a well-earned reputation for moving to uncontested scrums at the drop of a hat and are now equally renowned for their reluctance to play in extreme conditions.

They might also point out that if England's coaches imagine they can win the forthcoming Six Nations Championship with a tight-forward game based around the things the Londoners do in this department, they should expect an early visit from the men in white coats.

Wasps were not just dismantled at the set-piece; they were marmalised, smithereened, obliterated, beaten to a pulp.


This must be of acute concern to Martin Johnson, given that England's first-choice prop on the loose-head side of the scrum, Tim Payne, and their foremost scrummaging lock, Simon Shaw, were operating at the heart of this powder-puff pack, together with a couple of uncapped forwards from the second-string Saxons squad.

Payne spent time in the cooler for playing the 'Mr Collapso' role -- the Tigers scored 17 points during his absence -- and when he had the brass neck to continue performing it on his return, he found himself within a whisker of being sent off.

For his part, Shaw failed to go the distance after hyperextending a knee, possibly the consequence of attempting to move forward half an inch while being driven back 20 yards at a time.

When the irresistible force meets the all-too-moveable object, there can be only one winner.

It was a sure sign of Wasps' distress that when the unfortunate Payne was substituted -- or rather, put out of his misery -- in the dying minutes and left the field to raucously ironic applause from the home supporters, the man chosen to replace him in a position wholly unfit for angels went by the name of Gabriel. You couldn't possibly make it up. (© Independent News Service)

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