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Page last updated at 21:06 GMT, Friday, 26 September 2008 22:06 UK

Leicester 19-28 Wasps

Leicester (13) 19
Try: J Murphy Con: Flood Pens: Flood 4

Wasps (6) 28
Try: Varley Con: Staunton Pens: Staunton 5 Drops: Staunton 2

Wasps fly-half Jeremy Staunton
Jeremy Staunton kicked a total of 23 points at Welford Road

Defending Premiership champions Wasps secured their first win of the season after producing a dogged second-half comeback against high-flying Leicester.

Wasps were heading for their fourth straight defeat after going 13-6 down at half-time, Johne Murphy crossing and Toby Flood kicking eight points.

But Wasps cut out the mistakes and went 21-19 ahead with two drop-goals and three penalties from Jeremy Staunton.

And they sealed the win when Damien Varley went over on 68 minutes.

The victory will be of huge relief to Wasps, who were lying in a lowly 11th place before the game.

And the ending of their winless run will taste all the sweeter coming as it did against their traditional title rivals, who had been at the top of the table after an unbeaten start to the campaign.

Despite being an eagerly anticipated contest, in truth it rarely reached the heights, with both sides unwilling to take risks and content to kick possession away.

Leicester were the better side in the opening half, with Wasps making a host of errors.

The score was tied at 6-6 after 12 minutes, Flood and Staunton trading two penalties apiece, and it was not until the 34th minute that the match came alive.

Leicester's New Zealand centre Aaron Mauger cut a superb line and brushed off Jeremy Staunton's weak tackle to get in behind the Wasps defence before releasing wing Johne Murphy for the game's first try.

Wasps head coach Shaun Edwards kicked out in anger as the try was scored and after he delivered what was almost certainly a half-time grilling, his side upped their game in the second period.

They took the initiative immediately when Leicester sloppily failed to collect the kick-off and they soon had the scoreboard ticking in their favour thanks to Staunton's accurate boot.

The Wasps fly-half kicked his third penalty on 43 minutes and although Flood made the score 16-9 a minute later, two Staunton drop-goals reduced the deficit to one point.

And he put his side ahead with another penalty when Leicester prop Julian White was penalised for holding onto scrum-half Mark Robinson in an incident that led to a feisty exchange between players of both sides.

Flood restored Leicester's lead with a penalty from 45 metres but Staunton made the score 21-19 before replacement hooker Varley crashed over from close range for the match-winning try which was awarded by the video referee.

Leicester coach Heyneke Meyer:
"We didn't play enough football and you certainly can't win any games if you don't play.

"I don't think we had a single set piece in their half in the second half and it is obviously going to be tough to score points if that is the case.

"The difference between the two sides tonight was that when they got into our half, they punished us by kicking their goals.

"But Leicester v Wasps games are always going to be very tactical and you have to expect a lot of kicking."

Wasps rugby director Ian McGeechan:
"It's sad when you have to ask a team to stop playing the rugby they usually play.

"You can't afford to play in your own half and I think Leicester adopted the same principles as we did by trying to keep it tight. It's very tough on referees as well because they have enough to think about.

"But our physicality was first-class and we never gave Leicester a platform to build on. We were also very disciplined when we didn't have the ball. I'm delighted to get the first win under our belts."

Leicester: G Murphy; Varndell, Smith, Mauger, J Murphy; Flood, Dupuy; Ayerza, Kayser, Cole, Corry, Wentzel, Croft, Woods, Crane.
Replacements: B Youngs for Dupuy (75), White for Cole (53), Kay for Wentzel (53), Herring for Woods (58), T Youngs for Crane (75).

Not Used: Chuter, Erinle.

Wasps: Voyce; Sackey, Waldouck, Flutey, Lewsey; Staunton, Robinson; Vickery, Webber, Barnard, Birkett, Palmer, Worsley, Rees, Hart.
Replacements: Reddan for Robinson (56), French for Vickery (50), Varley for Barnard.

Not Used: Leo, Betsen Tchoua, Walder, Hoadley.

Att: 17,498

Ref: W Barnes (RFU).

see also
Loffreda laments Tigers mauling
24 Sep 08 |  Leicester
Ellis may need resting says Meyer
24 Sep 08 |  Leicester
Worcester 17-19 Leicester
20 Sep 08 |  English
Northampton 24-20 Wasps
20 Sep 08 |  English

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