By Paul Morgan, Editor of Rugby World
All those people at clubs like Bath, Glouceter, Worcester and Newcastle who hoped the Guinness Premiership relegation battle was a one-horse race are in for a shock after Leeds recorded their first away win for four years and their first win against Wasps in their history. And all power to them as they really toughed it out here at Adams Park.
It certainly wasn’t a classic, but Leeds dug deep and dug again to win the game thanks to the boot of Ceiron Thomas. Wasps were poor, but Leeds put them under pressure, particularly at the breakdown and lineout time, and thoroughly deserved their win.
Shaun Edwards’ admission that Wasps were a ‘dry weather team’ certainly raised a few eyebrows in the press conference after the game, especially as it is 1 November, and we may be in for some non-dry weather games in the next few months! The downpour before the game did seem to upset Wasps’ rhythm, but that is no excuse for a team of their experience!
Leeds contested every lineout and every scrum, which seems to shock Wasps and that pressure led to mistakes. But when you are at the bottom you have to contest every lineout and I’m not sure why teams at the top don’t feel they need to either.
The only shame was that the unnecessary demands of Sky Tv meant the game kicked off at the ludicrous time of 1.15pm was inaccessible for Leeds fans, so only a handful made the trip. Premier Rugby needs to stand up to the demands of tv companies!
For me the stand out performers were.
Erik Lund – There are few better second rows in the Premiership and Erik (brother of Magnus) has brought his fitness levels up considerably since Leeds were last in the Premiership.
Ceiron Thomas – The England qualified Welshman was spot on with the boot on a day when Leeds had precious few chances to win this game.
Hendre Fourie – The work rate of three men, Fourie, who is also England qualified, ensured Wasps never got any easy possession at the breakdown.
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Andy Gomarsall – The scrum-half rolled, who is at his seventh top flight club – rolled back the years with an accomplished performance. His kicking game pinned Wasps back at vital times.
Simon Shaw – Looked good and back somewhere near his best when he came on in the second half. Wasps could mount a rolling maul when he came on, at least!