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Page last updated at 16:22 GMT, Saturday, 31 May 2008 17:22 UK
Twickenham, London, 31 May

Wasps (23) 26
Try: Rees, Lewsey Pens: Van Gisbergen (4) Cons: Van Gisbergen (2)

Leicester (6) 16
Try: Varndell, Ellis Pens: Goode (2)

By Julian Shea

Lawrence Dallaglio and his Wasps team-mates
Dallaglio (right) celebrates the last win of his career

Wasps survived Leicester's fightback to win the Guinness Premiership final and seal a dream send-off for the retiring Lawrence Dallaglio at Twickenham.

Tries by Tom Rees and Josh Lewsey, and kicker Mark van Gisbergen's 13 points put the lively Wasps 23-6 up at half-time and in complete control.

Leicester hit back with a Tom Varndell try before Harry Ellis found a gap in the Wasps defence for their second.

But Andy Goode missed a host of kicks to slow the comeback and Wasps held on.

It was Wasps' fourth league title in six seasons and was a fitting way for 35-year-old former England captain Dallaglio to end a glittering 15-year senior career with the London club.

Dallaglio made an emotional farewell

But Dallaglio's side were made to fight hard in front of an 81,600 world-record club crowd as arch-rivals Leicester sought to defend their title and ease the pressure on under-fire coach Marcelo Loffreda.

Before the match, Van Gisbergen had been identified by Leicester as a possible defensive weakness, and after his early penalty put Wasps ahead, the Tigers tried to test him.

He failed to deal with Goode's delicately judged kick-through, and when Wasps were pressurized into conceding a penalty, Goode slotted it over.

But Wasps were soon back in front, with Rees claiming the game's opening try.

Tom Haskell stripped the ball away after Riki Flutey's superb tackle on Goode, before Eoin Reddan burst through the defensive line to put Leicester on the back foot.


The forwards provided vital support as Wasps kept up the pressure, and Rees bulldozed over in the right-hand corner to score.

Van Gisbergen converted and added a penalty to put Wasps 10 points clear of a dazed-looking Leicester.

Alesana Tuilagi gave their fans something to cheer, however, with a 50-yard sprint up the right touchline, which included running straight through Reddan in a way reminiscent of a young Jonah Lomu.

Interviews: Ian McGeechan and Martin Corry

But Goode's penalty at the end of it was less reward than Leicester would have hoped for, and they paid the price for failing to convert their chances when Wasps scored their second try just before the break.

A rare Leicester attack broke down in the Wasps' 22 and quick thinking by Simon Shaw and Dallaglio turned defence into attack.

The ball was worked down the other end of the pitch and ineffectual tackling allowed Lewsey to charge over and score.

Leicester's luck was summed up after the break when Goode's penalty hit the post and bounced perfectly for Wasps to set up a two-thirds-of-the-field counter-attack.

Josh Lewsey
Lewsey scored Wasps' second try just before half-time

And when Ellis followed up his own kick-through with the line at his mercy, Paul Sackey leapt superbly to tip the ball just beyond his grasp.

Varndell gave Leicester hope when he touched down after Geordan Murphy flicked Goode's cross-field kick into his path, and this heralded a superb comeback.

When Wasps lost their second prop to injury, the absence of front-row cover on the bench heralded uncontested scrums.

Leicester argued, claiming they were gaining the upper hand up front, but from the first uncontested scrum, Ellis nipped over to score and set up a fascinating final quarter, with Wasps' lead cut to seven points.

Dallaglio, a fading force against the resurgent Tigers, was replaced in the 68th minute and received a standing ovation as he made his way off.

And he was celebrating four minutes later when Van Gisbergen kicked Wasps' first points of the half to all-but ensure their victory.

In contrast, Goode missed two penalties and two conversions in the second half, with 10 points the gap between the teams.

An increasingly frantic Leicester piled everything into attack, but Wasps remained resolute and kept them at bay for a famous win.

Wasps: Mark Van Gisbergen, Paul Sackey, Fraser Waters, Dominic Waldouck, Josh Lewsey, Riki Flutey, Eoin Reddan, Tim Payne, Raphael Ibanez, Phil Vickery, Simon Shaw, Tom Palmer, James Haskell, Tom Rees, Lawrence Dallaglio (capt). Replacements: Joe Ward, Pat Barnard, Richard Birkett, Joe Worsley, Mark McMillan, Jeremy Staunton, John Hart

Leicester: Geordan Murphy, Tom Varndell, Dan Hipkiss, Aaron Mauger, Alesana Tuilagi, Andy Goode, Harry Ellis, Boris Stankovich, Mefin Davies, Julian White, Marco Wentzel, Ben Kay, Martin Corry (capt), Ben Herring, Jordan Crane. Replacements: Ben Kayser, Marcos Ayerza, Richard Blaze, Tom Croft, Christophe Laussucq, Sam Vesty, Ayoola Erinle

see also
Dallaglio ends career in triumph
31 May 08 |  Rugby Union
Corry bemoans first-half failings
31 May 08 |  Rugby Union
Dallaglio's last stand
30 May 08 |  Rugby Union
Lawrence Dallaglio in pictures
22 May 08 |  Rugby Union
Loffreda upbeat on Tigers future
28 May 08 |  Leicester
Prop White free to play in final
28 May 08 |  Leicester
Waters to leave Wasps for Treviso
27 May 08 |  London Wasps
Voyce to undergo shoulder surgery
21 May 08 |  London Wasps

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