By Paul Morgan, Editor of Rugby World Magazine
Leicester 34 Wasps 8
Wasps have problems, big problems up front as for the second time in a week they have been undone by a far more powerful front row.
This time – against Leicester – it was the turn of Dan Cole (who’ll find himself in the Saxons squad this week), the 22-year-old local lad from Leicester to turn the screw and send Wasps on the retreat. He was quite rightly named man of the match as Newcastle’s Jon Golding was last week, when the Falcons beat Wasps.
Leicester are however motoring nicely and with a hard core of young English players it is easy to see how they just might be heading for a period of English/European dominance they enjoyed at the start of the last decade.
Wasps took a shock third-minute lead when Danny Cipriani opened up the Leicester defence but after the first scrum (in the 23rd minute!) when Cole was penalised for dropping a scrum, against Tim Payne, it was all one-way traffic at the set piece.
The Leicester pressure finally cracked the Wasps rearguard in the 38th minute when Payne was yellow-carded for dropping yet another scrum and while he was off the field the 8-3 Wasps lead turned into a 17-8 Leicester advantage. Game set and match.
In fairness to Wasps they do have some big injury problems in the front row, missing both Phil Vickery and Jason Hobson, but then Leicester were missing their first-choice tightheads too in Julian White and Martin Castrogivanni.
On the bright side Sakaria Taulafo is looking to be a good signing, from Samoa. He has played on both sides of the front row in the last two weekends.
Louis Deacon: Great captaincy from the second row ensured this comfortable win. He kept going for the corner, keeping the pressure on when a kick at goal would have been the normal Leicester-way. When he did this at the end of the first half it led to Payne’s yellow card and the match was won.
Danny Cipriani: Another classy display from a young man running right into form. His pace off the mark will worry any defence and his passing is simply world-class.
Lote Tuqiri: Leicester need to do all they can to hold on to this guy when his contract runs out in the summer. I know it is tough to balance the books inside the salary cap but his effect on and off the field could be decisive. Who would you rather have in your side in a Heineken Cup final or Guinness Premiership final?
Geoff Parling: Another young English lock who should cheer Martin Johnson up. Should find his way into the Saxons this season and then the world’s his oyster.
But what do you think? Were you at the game? Do you agree with me making Dan Cole man of the match? Perhaps you would have picked someone else?