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Leicester 34-24 Wasps

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Highlights: Leicester 34-24 Wasps

By Phil Harlow

Leicester (13) 34
Tries: Goode, Rabeni, Hipkiss, Castrogiovanni
Pens: Goode 2 Cons: Goode 4

Wasps (12) 24
Try: Cipriani 2, Sackey 2
Cons: Cipriani, Walder

Leicester fly-half Andy Goode produced an inspired display to guide his team to a superb EDF Energy Cup semi-final win over Wasps in Cardiff.

Goode scored 19 points and created two of his team's four tries to put Danny Cipriani in the shade.

Cipriani and Paul Sackey's tries put Wasps ahead, but Goode ensured the Tigers held a 13-12 half-time lead.

Wasps battled to the end but tries from Seru Rabeni, Dan Hipkiss and Martin Castrogiovanni sealed Leicester's win.

The two heavyweights of English rugby went toe-to-toe in an entertaining encounter more than worthy of the Millennium Stadium stage, but Goode was an unexpected star of the show with a brilliant all-round display.

Leicester should have scored within 50 seconds of kick-off but prop Castrogiovanni - out in the unfamiliar wide open spaces - inexplicably ignored the supporting Ben Herring in favour of smashing into Josh Lewsey.

606: DEBATE
Cowshot

The Tigers forwards were monopolising possession, but Wasps' trademark defensive solidity meant it took 15 minutes for them to go ahead on the scoreboard through Goode's penalty.

The score seemed to spark Wasps into life as they finally remembered they could attack as well as defend, and a series of drives around the ruck took them into Leicester's 22.

A knock-on eventually ended that move, but English rugby's man of the moment Cipriani - who also enjoyed a fine game - showed what all the fuss is about moments later as he cruised past Hipkiss to score.

Wasps full-back Josh Lewsey was in great form at the Millennium Stadium
Lewsey put in an effervescent display in a losing cause

A razor-sharp Harry Ellis break saw him race into Wasps' 22 before being hauled down by Lewsey, and the next phase of play saw Fraser Waters caught offside to allow Goode to kick his second penalty.

Eoin Reddan took a leaf out of Ellis's book soon after with a great break off the back of a scrum in Wasps' 22, beating a sluggish Tom Croft for pace before releasing Sackey from 30m out.

Sackey had to check slightly, but he showed all of his finishing ability to outwit Leicester full-back Johne Murphy and score in the corner.

The match swung back in Leicester's favour when Hipkiss's clever angled run confused the Wasps defence, allowing him to scissor with Goode and put the fly-half in under the posts.

Some magical Cipriani touches enlivened the minutes up to the break before the whistle went with just one point separating the sides.

It was more of the same after the break with Leicester quickly stretching their narrow lead courtesy of a piece of quick thinking from Goode.

Leicester centre Seru Rabeni
Rabeni's score put Leicester on the front foot in the second half

The fly-half, so often maligned for a perceived over-reliance on the boot, took a quick tap and released his backline to go 65m and put Rabeni in for a great score.

Better was to follow from Goode, after Leicester had snatched possession at a Wasps line-out throw, as he chipped ahead and collected before drawing Lewsey to put Hipkiss in under the posts.

Wasps refused to give in though, and a moment of genius from Cipriani - with an instinctive overhead flip pass - put Sackey in at the corner.

But Leicester quickly closed the door on any potential Wasps comeback with Castrogiovanni scoring with an extravagant dive under the posts.

Cipriani scored a classy late try from long-range after exchanging passes with Sackey, but the game was already Leicester's.

The Tigers will face Welsh side Ospreys in the final at Twickenham on 12 April.


Leicester: J. Murphy; Varndell, Rabeni, Hipkiss, Tuilagi; Goode, Ellis; Stankovich, Chuter, Castrogiovanni, L. Deacon, Kay, Croft, Herring, Corry.
Replacements: Kayser, Ayerza, White, Crane, Laussucq, Cornwell, Vesty.

Wasps: Lewsey; Sackey, Waters, Flutey, Doherty; Cipriani, Reddan; Payne, Ibanez, Vickery, Skivington, Palmer, Hart, Haskell, Dallaglio.
Replacements: Ward, French, Birkett, Leo, McMillan, Walder, Waldouck.

Referee: N Owens (Wales)


see also
Ospreys 30-3 Saracens
22 Mar 08 |  Rugby Union
Tigers glad to end Wasps 'voodoo'
22 Mar 08 |  Rugby Union
EDF Energy Anglo-Welsh Cup 2007/8
01 Dec 07 |  Rugby Union


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