Wasps brought the Aviva Premiership curtain down on Adams Park with a comprehensive 11-try win over London Welsh on Sunday.
Wasps still have one more fixture to play out, in Europe, before moving lock, stock barrel up the M40 to the Ricoh Arena, but they were determined to sign off the club’s last Premiership fixture on a high, and that came at London Welsh’s expense.
Two tries down inside the opening six minutes to Nathan Hughes and man of the match Ashley Johnson, further scores from Hughes and Sailosi Tagicakibau saw the home side wrap up the bonus point before the break.
They cut loose in the second half with Christian Wade running in a hat-trick, Johnson completing his own three-try haul, and Joe Simpson and Tom Varndell also getting in on the act, as a rampant Wasps side put the Exiles firmly to the sword.
Welsh’s only consolation came in the form of Ben Pienaar’s try – arguably the try of the game – but it was scant consolation on a miserable afternoon for the Exiles, which also saw Pablo Henn, Chris Hala’ufia and Nick Scott added to an already lengthy injury list, with the small matter of Leicester Tigers and champions Northampton Saints now to come at the Kassam Stadium in consecutive weekends.
Wasps were simply too fast, too dynamic and too clinical for the Exiles. Knocking on from Andy Goode’s kick-off should have allowed Welsh to draw the early sting from Wasps. Instead the home side won the scrum against the head and Hughes powered over, with Goode landing the first of his six conversions. It would prove a doubly costly scrum, as Henn was helped from the field.
Before Welsh could clear their heads, the home side were in again. Simpson and Rob Miller both made yards before a penalty was pushed into the corner and Johnson forced his way over. Welsh hadn’t been able to match the physicality or the intensity of the home side.
Will Robinson’s penalty attempt slipped past the right hand upright but Welsh seemed poised to strike as they engineered a five-metre catch and drive opportunity, only for crossing to leave the Exiles frustrated.
Welsh then lost Hala’ufia to a head injury and things were compounded when Seb Jewell came to collect Simpson’s high ball, only for the ball to bounce kindly into the path of Hughes and the Number 8 had an easy run in. when it’s not going for you, it’s not going for you.
Welsh had one last chance to break their duck as Robinson’s penalty took the Exiles deep into the Wasps 22, only for the visitors to be penalised at the breakdown. A miserable first half came to a close with Wasps leading 26-0 and Welsh contemplating a long second 40 minutes. It would be all that and more.
Wasps needed just five minutes to add to their lead; Elliott Daly finding a gap in the Welsh defensive line before leaving it to Wade to finish. Simpson then spotted an opportunity down the blindside and his lightening break saw Hughes send Johnson in for try number six. Wasps clearly had no intention of easing off.
Two minutes later the home side were in again. With numbers on the right, Kearnan Myall breezed through a hole and fed Simpson to sprint away to score in the corner, despite the best efforts of Seb Stegmann.
Welsh’s only bright moment came with Pienaar’s try. A well worked drop out saw Lachlan McCaffrey come away with it, and Welsh worked the ball wide to Stegmann, who took play into the Wasps’ 22. The Exiles spread the play across the width of the pitch and Pienaar forced his way over. Robinson converted.
It was arguably the try of the match, but it barely knocked Wasps out of their stride. Johnson completed his hat-trick from a perfectly executed catch and drive and the excellent flanker then turned provider, along with Alex Lozowski, for Varndell to claim try number nine.
Wasps weren’t done and Wade terrorised Welsh twice more down the right to complete his second half hat-trick and seal a miserable afternoon for the Exiles.
Tries: Johnson (3), Wade (3), Hughes (2), Tagicakibau, Simpson, Varndell; Cons: Goode (6), Lozowski (2).
London Welsh scorers:
Tries: Pienaar; Cons: Robinson.
Referee: Thomas Foley
Touch Judges: Roy Maybank & Paul Dix