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Young admits Wasps were second best in defeat at Madejski

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 25, 2013

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Wasps director of rugby Dai Young conceded his high-flying side were second-best as they crumbled to a 30-19 Aviva Premiership defeat at Madejski Stadium yesterday.

Buoyed by an outstanding performance from No.8 Chris Hala'ufia and 20 points from the boot of Tom Homer, the hosts turned around a 16-11 deficit to finish on top.

Young said: "We were never in control of that game; in the first half they dominated but we took our one opportunity to score to lead at the interval. After that we were looking to gain footholds in the Irish half but they prevented us from doing so."

Wasps were without Billy Vunipola, injured in training with England, which allowed Hala'ufia to dominate the back-row area.

"We badly missed Billy as we lacked penetration and were never going forward; we looked a very tired side and we were one-paced," Young said.

"After two hard games we had to patch up the boys during the week and we lacked our usual sparkle and edge."

Christian Wade scored Wasps' only try before leaving the field midway through the second half with Young once again praising him

"Christian was carrying an ankle injury and we took him off as a precaution but he showed what he could do, scoring a great try on virtually one leg," Young said.

Northampton coach Alan Dickens says England discard Ben Foden is getting back to his best after he set up the winning try in a 25-23 win over Bath at Franklin's Gardens.

Foden has struggled to regain his top form since needing an operation on an ankle injury earlier in the season and he was rested by England two weeks ago. But he returned against Worcester and looked somewhere near his best as he fizzed around the Franklin's Gardens pitch.

Dickens, acting backs coach and Academy manager, said: "Ben is better, he is looking after himself during the week and was good today. He is training, but he is looking after his ankle as well. He is looking good, but I think it is one of those injuries that has needed managing along the way."

Northampton looked to be heading towards a routine home win at 20-9 in front, but referee Luke Pearce awarded a penalty try and when centre Semesa Rokoduguni followed up with an another, Bath led 23-20 with ten minutes to go.

But Foden sent Jamie Elliott over for the second of his two tries with seven minutes left and Northampton clung on for a vital win.

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall pressed David Strettle's claims for an England recall after the winger's superb performance in a quite stunning Premiership win at Leicester.

Strettle scored two of his side's four second-half tries as Saracens turned a 17-6 half-time deficit into a 32-27 victory – their fourth on the trot at Welford Road – to stay in second place.

McCall thinks Strettle is ready to step in if England opt to recall him for their next Six Nations clash against Italy.

"He is really on form at the moment," McCall said. "He has had a great two or three months with us, he's one of the form wingers and is in the EPS squad."

Winger James Short and full-back Chris Wyles scored the other second-half tries while fly-half Charlie Hodgson kicked 12 points.

Worcester coach Richard Hill was furious his side lost 29-23 to Gloucester to a last-minute penalty try and also had Errie Claassens sent off in a tight Premiership clash.

Claassens was sent off for tripping Jonny May in the dying moments and referee David Rose awarded a penalty try, which was converted, after consulting the television match official.

That final score earned Gloucester a victory which denied Worcester a valuable win in their bid to pull away from the relegation fight at the foot of the table.

Hill said: "It wasn't a penalty try; Paul Hodgson was covering across behind Errie. Errie is distraught and devastated and it's a very cruel way to lose a game," added Hill.

"We came within a whisker of beating them."

Former England international Nick Easter touched down for one of Harlequins' three tries as they extended their lead at the top of the Premiership with a deserved 30-21 victory over Sale Sharks.

Cameron Shepherd's try took Sale into an early lead, but Quins controlled the rest of the half with Tom Williams touching down and Ben Botica adding eight points with the boot.

Botica continued his fine form in the second period with another penalty before converted scores from Easter and Charlie Matthews sealed a fine victory, their 12th in 13 games.

Richie Vernon and Sam Tuitupou scored consolation efforts in the last few minutes for Sale, but the result means they still reside at the bottom of the league.

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