Daly and Mul­lan in­juries cast shadow over Wasps tri­umph

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Aviva Premiership - By Gavin Mairs at Franklin’s Gar­dens

The Wasps’ re­vival con­tin­ues but it may have come at a cost to Eng­land. Both El­liot Daly and Matt Mul­lan limped out of this won­der­ful con­test with in­juries that could af­fect their chances of play­ing for Eng­land in the three-Test se­ries next month.

The 34-man Eng­land squad will as­sem­ble to­day be­fore fly­ing to the Al­garve for week-long warm weather train­ing camp and both play­ers are likely to re­quire scans be­fore de­par­ture. Daly did not reap­pear after the half-time in­ter­val be­cause of an in­jury to his right knee while Mul­lan de­parted mid­way through the sec­ond half with a blow to his el­bow and up­per arm.

A third mem­ber of Jones’s squad, Piers Francis, who had kept Northamp­ton in this game by land­ing four penal­ties, also re­quired as­sis­tance to leave the field of play with an an­kle in­jury.

Dai Young, Wasps di­rec­tor of rugby, said it would he would be dis­ap­pointed if Daly and Mul­lan were ruled out of the au­tumn se­ries against Ar­gentina, Aus­tralia and Samoa.

“Hope­fully it is just a col­li­sion in­jury, as in it is a bump and that will set­tle down,” said Young of Daly’s in­jury. “It is a con­cern when any­one goes off with a knee in­jury. It doesn’t look too bad. It may be a lig­a­ment strain or it could be a con­tact in­jury. We are not go­ing to know for the next 48 hours. He is walk­ing around on it fine so our medics will speak to the Eng­land guys and de­cide what to do.

“Matt Mul­lan looked like a shoul­der but I think it is more of his el­bow / bi­cep. It looks quite painful and I am not quite sure on the turn­around on that.”

Jim Mallinder, the Northamp­ton di­rec­tor of rugby, said that Pier Francis had gone off after ag­gra­vat­ing a knock to his an­kle. “We’re not ex­actly sure what he has done, he did it early in the game then got an­other knock. Hope­fully it’s not too bad. If there’s any doubt we’ll get him in to scan.”

A length­en­ing in­jury list is the last thing Young will have wanted given that he is al­ready with­out 12 play­ers be­cause of in­jury plus Nathan Hughes, who is sus­pended. Yet if Northamp­ton’s de­feat com­pleted a mis­er­able win­less Oc­to­ber for them, Wasps can point to a cred­itable resur­gence after los­ing five games on the bounce.

After the vic­tory in the Cham­pi­ons Cup against Har­lequins last Sun­day, they moved up sev­eral gears yes­ter­day to com­plete what was a com­fort­able bonus-point vic­tory – the first time they have picked up the ex­tra point since the first week­end of the sea­son.

“We gave them a cou­ple of weak tries, I was pretty dis­ap­pointed with our de­fence,” Mallinder said. “It’s been a bad month and to­day just wasn’t good enough. We need to be bet­ter. We’ve had two tough games in Europe but the lads were up for it. That showed though their phys­i­cal­ity but we just weren’t with it in terms of ac­cu­racy.” Four tries to two was a fair re­flec­tion of Wasps’ su­pe­ri­or­ity.

Wasps were guilty of re­ly­ing on the cre­ative­ness of their backs early in the sea­son but yes­ter­day’s vic­tory was founded on the hard yards made by their back row and su­perla­tive con­tri­bu­tions from Ashley John­son and Joe Launch­bury in the front five.

It had been a mad­cap first half, brim­ming with ex­hil­a­rat­ing rugby and reck­less er­rors in equal mea­sure.

The stand­out mo­ment was a breath­tak­ing two min­utes which could have re­sulted in a try at ei­ther end be­fore fi­nally Chris­tian Wade gath­ered a per­fectly-placed kick by John­son to score.

As if to char­ac­terise the mad­ness, Wade then knocked over the con­ver­sion with a drop-kick to give his side a

counter-at­tack by Ah­see Tuala and Nafi Tuitavake was equally as im­pres­sive only for a turnover by Thomas Young al­low­ing Wasps to counter, with John­son’s kick re­leas­ing Wade. Northamp­ton’s open­ing try had a hint of con­tro­versy too, with James Haskell claim­ing he had been ob­structed by Jamie Gib­son fol­low­ing Wil­lie Le Roux’s poor exit kick as Ben Fo­den surged into the Wasps 22 be­fore put­ting Tuala through to score.

The in­ci­dent was re­viewed by the tele­vi­sion match of­fi­cial but ref­eree Luke Pearce ruled the try was fair as Gib­son had held his ground, even though he could be seen turn­ing his shoul­der to­wards Haskell.

When Alex Waller was pe­nalised for tack­ling Dan Rob­son be­fore he had time to play it, Gop­perth was able to re­store Wasps lead with his third penalty and after the try by Wade, Young’s side ap­peared to have struck again after Fo­den had been sent to the sin bin for a de­lib­er­ate knock-on.

Rob­son tip­toed his way to the goalline from the side of a ruck, only for the as­sis­tant ref­eree to raise his flag for a foot in touch. Tele­vi­sion re­plays showed that Rob­son had in fact just stayed the right side of the white­wash and Northamp­ton rubbed salt into the wounds by win­ning the turnover after Wasps had kicked a sub­se­quent penalty to touch.

Wasps would still be able to ex­ploit their ex­tra man at the start of the sec­ond half how­ever by stretch­ing Northamp­ton from left to right be­fore John­son went over from a long pass by Le Roux. Two penal­ties in suc­ces­sion

Mad­cap first half brimmed with ex­cit­ing rugby and reck­less er­rors

by Francis looked to have put Northamp­ton back into con­tention but De Jongh and Launch­bury put Bas­sett over for his fifth try in seven games be­fore De Jongh went over for the bonus point five min­utes from time.

Harry Mallinder’s late try did lit­tle to ease an­other painful day for the Saints.

All-ac­tion en­counter: Chris­tian Wade of Wasps dives over for a try de­spite Ben Fo­den’s ef­forts to stop him (left) but he can­not pre­vent Harry Mallinder scor­ing a try for Northamp­ton (top) while (right) El­liot Daly is treated after suf­fer­ing an an­kle...

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