Cipriani returns to haunt Wasps with display of perfect judgment
Gloucester head coach Johan Ackermann praised Danny Cipriani’s huge impact as the outside-half guided his side to a deserved win over his former club Wasps at the Ricoh Arena.
Cipriani collected a 15-point haul by kicking three penalties and three conversions to add to two tries from Charlie Sharples and one apiece for Ben Vellacott and Lewis Ludlow.
Ackermann said: “After a couple of defeats the guys were beginning to doubt themselves, but Danny has been really upbeat and positive all week. He brings a lot of belief in his own ability and gives belief to the other players, and today he had a good balance by kicking and running at the right times.”
It was still a somewhat erratic performance from Gloucester as they started badly but then built up a 20-7 half-time lead, before allowing Wasps to pull back to within two points. It was not until the last five minutes that the win was eventually sealed.
Ackermann added: “We showed more composure under pressure but we started poorly and chucked away a lead, so the way we responded was the biggest positive. Our forwards were good and we nicked a couple of turnovers, and at the end Ed Slater and Danny showed good body language to help get us over the line.”
Gloucester now turn to Europe, where they face a huge challenge against French champions Castres in the Champions Cup at Kingsholm next Sunday. Ackermann said: “They are a massive side and we’ll need a change of tactics, but we’ve got a plan in place that we will look at this week.”
Wasps responded with tries from Dan Robson, Elliot Daly and Juan de Jongh, with Billy Searle converting all three. Gloucester were the deserved winners, though, as their forwards controlled long periods of the match and Wasps badly missing their talisman, Joe Launchbury.
Wasps director of rugby Dai Young admitted: “We lacked real intensity and energy and were very poor, which is very disappointing. There was a blatant forward pass for one of their tries, but our luck ran out.”
The loss of lively scrum-half Robson with an injury just before half-time did not help Wasps’ cause. Young said: “It looked nasty and he’s got his foot in a boot. He will have a scan in the next 24 hours, but it doesn’t look great. Hopefully he will be out for weeks rather than months.”
Pass master: Danny Cipriani gets the ball away to keep Gloucester in control yesterday