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Page last updated at 14:45 GMT, Sunday, 19 December 2010

Wasps 37-10 Dragons

Wasps (3)
Tries: Ward, Van Gisbergen, Varndell, Berry Cons: Walder 4Pens: Walder 3
Dragons (3) 10
Try: Brew Con: Jones Pen: M Jones

Adams Park covered in snow
Adams Park was surrounded by snow, but officials said the pitch was safe to play

A superb second-half performance saw Wasps climb to the top of Pool Six of the Heineken Cup following a bonus-point win over the Dragons.

A stale first-half at a snow-flecked Causeway Stadium ended 3-3, penalties each for Matthew Jones and Dave Walder.

Wasps turned on the style after the break with a 49th-minute Joe Ward try before two scores in five minutes from Mark van Gisbergen and Tom Varndell.

Nic Berry added a fourth before Aled Brew scored a late consolation try.

The defeat leaves the injury-ravaged Dragons firmly rooted to the bottom of Pool Six, continuing their miserable European campaign with their fourth defeat in four matches.

By contrast, Wasps usurped defending champions Toulouse and lead Pool Six with their 14th successive home Heineken Cup victory, although the French giants have a game in hand.

The match had been in danger of becoming another victim of the big freeze because Wasps could not secure the required medical support team on Sunday morning.

A paramedic team was eventually found, ensuring the match could go ahead - albeit with a sparse crowd of 1,236.

Those spectators brave enough to endure the elements were forced to watch a dire first half of little attacking endeavour as melting snow made ball-handling difficult.

Unsurprisingly, the only points of the first 40 minutes came from the boot of Jones and Walder.

But Wasps made an excellent start to the second half and the two-time champions scored the first try of the afternoon when hooker Ward touched down in the 49th minute after excellent work from Walder and David Lemi.

Walder, who kicked four conversions and three penalties, added the extras before England international Riki Flutey, who has been out since October with a calf injury, was brought on for the final quarter.

The wood

And the centre was involved in the second score when his pass sent through full-back Van Gisbergen in at the right corner in the 65th minute.

Varndell added the third five minutes later when an awkward bounce left Dragons centre Tom Riley stranded, allowing the fleet-footed Wasps winger to slide over in the corner.

Berry added the bonus point eight minutes from time courtesy of an excellent pick-up-and-drive from a five-metre scrum by number eight Will Matthews before Brew ran in a late - but inconsequential - try for the visitors, who have lost their last eight Heineken Cup games on the road.

Wasps' hopes of reaching the quarter-finals are likely to rest on their final pool game against Toulouse at the Causeway Stadium in January.

Wasps director of rugby Tony Hanks:
"We were rapt that the game was played. It's credit to everyone involved getting the game on by getting the right areas clear.

"It shows what you can do if you invest in your pitch. The pitch was great and the under-soil heating worked.

"We were also pleased at the number who braved the elements because they had to walk to the game if they wanted to come.

"We looked in good shape in the second half. That allowed us to play the rugby we wanted to right until the end.

"We had a lot of respect for the Dragons and to be fair to them they really came at us.

"We're pleased because we beat a good team. It sets the pool up well but we've got a pretty tough trip away to Glasgow in the next game."

Dragons coach Paul Turner:
"At half-time we felt we were well in it but then we gave three points to Walder and our game just went.

"If you leave things on the table against Wasps they'll punish you and that's what they did.

"I'm pretty disappointed and there were a few harsh words said afterwards.

"There have been a lot of positives in these two games against Wasps but you can't play like we did in the second half."

Wasps: van Gisbergen, Varndell, Jacobs, Kefu, Lemi, Walder, Simpson, Taulafo, Ward, Broster, Shaw, Cannon, Worsley, Betsen Tchoua, Powell.
Replacements: Flutey for Kefu (60), Berry for Simpson (67), Haughton for Ward (67), Baker for Broster (68), Veale for Worsley (70).

Newport-Gwent D'gons: Leach, Hughes, Riley, Smith, A. Brew, M. Jones, W. Evans, Gustafson, S. Jones, Castle, Charteris, Morgan, L. Evans, G. Thomas, Faletau.
Replacements: Cheeseman for Hughes (75), Leadbeater for W. Evans (71), Burns for S. Jones (54), Sidoli for Charteris (41), Lydiate for Faletau (52).

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see also
Heineken Cup tables
09 Aug 06 |  Tables
Dragons 16-23 Wasps
12 Dec 10 |  Rugby Union

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