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Dan Robson calls for consistency over red cards after Wasps comeback sees them beat Worcester

·4-min read
Dan Robson during his side's victory over Worcester  - PA
Dan Robson during his side's victory over Worcester - PA
  • Wasps 23-19 Worcester

Dan Robson called for more consistency from referees over red card decisions after Wasps defied going down to 14 men to recover and defeat Worcester at the Ricoh Arena and keep their top-six hopes alive.

The England scrum-half claimed Ben Morris was unlucky to be dismissed for what referee Ian Tempest decided was a dangerous hit to the head on centre Ollie Lawrence 20 minutes from the end.

Wasps fell behind but hooker Tommy Taylor’s try five minutes later sealed the victory which puts them eighth in the Premiership table with three games remaining. But Robson insisted: “I’ve seen yellow and red cards given for virtually nothing. The frustrating thing for all the players is getting consistency.

“Charlie Ewels’ one last night in Bath’s game with Sale was a very similar one and he gets a yellow but Ben gets a red for his. We are all watching it on the big screen and going: ‘pick a number out the hat!’ all we want is consistency and if we get that it will be fine and there will be no problem.

“Fortunately the pack were excellent today and so was our set-piece. We kept calm and got the job done. We managed to win one from behind for once because we’ve lost so many games near the end after leading. To come back with 14 men and finish the way we did was pretty good. We wrestled the momentum back and showed real desire to get across the line.”

Wasps' Jeff Toomaga-Allen is tackled by Worcester Warriors' Scott Andrews and Niall Annett during his side's win  - PA
Wasps' Jeff Toomaga-Allen is tackled by Worcester Warriors' Scott Andrews and Niall Annett during his side's win - PA

The hosts made it 14 successive Premiership wins over Worcester while the visitors have still not managed to win a game actually on the field since the opening day of the season.

Warriors had fought back from a 10-point deficit to lead and looked the more likely to win until replacement hooker Tommy Taylor barged his way over in the left hand corner for the decisive try 15 minutes from time.

Billy Searle kicked an early kick at goal after the hosts were penalised for holding onto the ball but the visitors lost Richard Palframan sustained an arm injury and was replaced by Scott Andrews. Brad Shields bull-dozed his way over for the opening Wasps try and Jacob Umaga added the conversion. He thought he would be having another attempt a few minutes later but Josh Bassett knocked on before grounding the ball behind the Warriors line.

Warriors lost Ethan Waller to head injury with the prop coming off worst attempting a tackle and the visitors had already lost two of their starting front rowers within half an hour. Umaga stretched the lead with a penalty after the weakened Warriors pack quickly retreated at a scrum.

England scrum-half Robson was running the show with his kicking, quick thinking and equally quick hands, but Wasps still struggled to put the points on the board they required to be able to breathe easier at the break.

All they could conjure was another Umaga penalty while Robson needed to be swift on his feet in defence when, on a rare occasion, rival No 9 Francois Hougaard managed to put his side on the front foot. Robson raced back to ground a chip through behind his own goal line and the hosts held a 10-point half-time lead.

Searle and Umaga exchanged kicking blows in the opening seven minutes of the second half as the sun showed its face for the first time during the game. Warriors were clearly intent on changing to a more attacking game and England centre Ollie Lawrence, who had appeared as a first half replacement for Ashley Beck, produced the kind of barnstorming run through the middle which has earned him international recognition. He was thwarted in his bid to get to the line. But a few moments later Francois Venter made the criticial surge through the Wasps defence before off-loading to Sam Lewis to cross for the visitors’ first try, converted by Searle.

Jamie Shillcock’s long range kick from just inside the Wasps half levelled matters as it sailed just inches over the crossbar. Just like the weather, the game had changed complexion with Wasps giving away a series of penalties and Searle’s next penalty edged the visitors’ ahead.

The hosts’ problems mounted with flanker Morris sent off for a dangerous hit to the head on Lawrence as the centre was in full speed. It took a while before referee Tempest made his decision having studied several replays of the incident.

Yet Wasps still managed to galvanise themselves and produced a strong finish to grab the spoils. Taylor powered his way over in the left corner following a Wasps maul for the decisive try which Umaga converted.

Warriors had flanker Lewis sent to the sin bin seven minutes from time for helping to collapse a scrum and the visitors endured another painful defeat. Fly-half Billy Searle admitted: “We have to just take this new frustrating defeat on the chin and make sure we finish the season with at least a couple of wins. We had our chance but couldn’t take it at the end.”