GP Semi 1 Preview: Bath looking for Wasps whitewash

Written by (Quinnyshark)

Posted in :Uncategorized on 17 May 2008 at 17:51
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This Sunday 18 May will be the day that the final of the 2008 Guinness Premiership are decided, starting with 2 crunch semi-final games competed by 4 bitter rivals – Wasps, Bath, Gloucester and Leicester Tigers. The first semi-final is between traditional English powerhouses, London Wasps and Bath, featuring 7 South African players! Sharksworld previews this game below. 

The game has additional spice in that it could indeed be the final games for Lawrence Dallagio (Wasps – retiring), Steve Borthwick (Bath – moving to Saracens) and Ollie Barkley (Bath – moving to Gloucester).

Last weekend, London Wasps demolished relegated Leeds Carnegie in the final pool game of the season to usurp Bath (who lost the West Country derby to log-toppers Gloucester) in second spot and claim a home semi-final.

 After an uncharacteristicly poor start to the season, with a squad blighted by World Cup call-ups, Wasps have finished the season strongly and one could argue that momentum is on their side. In fact, Wasps have beaten Bath twice this season, and so should be starting this game as favourites with home advantage. 

Bath, on the otherhand, have had a very consistent season under coach Steve Meehan after a poor 2006/2007 season,  and have only lost just the once at The Rec this season. Ominously that sole defeat was to the hands of Wasp…

However ex-Saracens head coach and new Munster coach Alan Gaffney was immensely impressed with Bath in their 66-21 demolishing of Saracens a few weeks ago, proclaiming it as one of the most complete performances ever seen in the competition. “It is going to take a very good defensive side to hold them out,” said Gaffney, although Wasps are known for their outstanding application of the rush defensive system – pioneered by head coach Shawn Edwards.

Players to watch:


The 9-10-12 axis of Michael Claassens, Butch James and Ollie Barkley has been a revelation this season, and they will be key players. Butch James believes that skipper Steve Borthwick is the best captain he’s ever played under – Bath will be reliant on his cool captaincy in this game. Opensider Michael Lipman is one of the best offloaders of the ball, and as current English incumbent will have a point to prove to challenger Tom Rees. 6’7 foot tall winger Matt Banahan has impressed enough in his debut season – enough to be called up into the England Saxons squad last week. Not bad considering he was originally contracted as a lock!


As ever, talisman Lawrence Dallagio will want to have a say in matters, more so than ever in his final game of professional rugby. Danny Cipriani has been hailed as the new saviour of British backline play and much will be expected of him in this game. Riki Flutely is a midfield general, one of the best distributers of the ball, and Wasps will be counting on him to get their all-star English back 3 (Lewsey, Sackey and Voyce) firing on all cylinders. Blindside flanker James Haskell is regarded as a future England skipper, and should be heavily involved in the breakdown battle. Also look out for his surprising pace if he gets the ball in hand.


Wasps will be looking to starve Bath of the ball, so line-outs and the battle of the breakdown will be key contests. This should be a titanic battle that could be decided by an individual moment of brilliance, however I’m going to stick my neck out and predict a narrow Wasps win based on their current momentum and being perenially thereabouts in the play-offs.

SA players on Display:

Bath – Butch James, Michael Claassens, Matt Stevens, Pieter Dixon, Nick Abendanon       

Wasps – Fraser Waters, Pat Barnard

The teams:

Wasps: 15 Josh Lewsey, 14 Paul Sackey, 13 Fraser Waters, 12 Riki Flutey, 11 Tom Voyce, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Lawrence Dallaglio (captain), 7 Tom Rees, 6 James Haskell, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 Simon Shaw, 3 Pat Barnard, 2 Raphael Ibanez, 1 Tim Payne.
Replacements (from): Richard Birkett, Tom French, John Hart, Joe Ward, Joe Worsley, Mark McMillan, Jeremy Staunton, Mark van Gisbergen, Dominic Waldouck.

Bath: 15 Joe Maddock, 14 Andy Higgins, 13 Alex Crockett, 12 Olly Barkley, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 Butch James, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Daniel Browne, 7 Michael Lipman, 6 Jonny Faamatuainu, 5 Danny Grewcock, 4 Steve Borthwick (captain), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Pieter Dixon, 1 David Barnes.
Replacements: 16 AN Other, 17 Duncan Bell, 18 Peter Short, 19 Chris Goodman, 20 Mike Baxter, 21 Shaun Berne, 22 Nick Abendanon
Venue: Adams Park, London

Kick-off: 14.00 (15.00 SA time, 13.00 GMT)
Referee: Chris White
Touch judges: Robin Goodliffe, Paul Dix
TMO: Matt Peters, Graham Hughes


  • Go Butch & Bath!!!

    On a different note, the Wasps’ New Zealand inside centre Riki Flutely has made himself available for England from September after completeing “a 3 year residency” period. This after being a Junior Allblack alongside Richie McCaw back in ’99.

    So he’s going to do a Vainikolo, only diff being that Vainikolo was actually in the UK for about 5 years which actually more closer to the “proper immigration rules”.

    Personally I think its disgusting that England bends the rules for non-EU sportstars to “qualify” them faster. Its going to happen in cricket – look at all the SA Kolpak cricketers over there who will try “qualify” ffor England, despite playing in SA still for half the year. A mockery. Now with the vast amounts of cash being flashed in the English rugby scene, it will happen too – though I suspect ther’ll be more Kiwis “defecting”.

    France is hesitant to pick these foreign superstars as they realsie they are not truly French. Why can’t England, or have they become a true mercenary union?

    Rant over.

  • Comment 1, posted at 18.05.08 13:37:22 by Le Requinny Reply
  • @Le Requinny (Comment 1) : England are the masters of getting other people to do the dirty work (or any work) for them and then taking the credit. 😉

    The ultimate colonial master.

    God save the queen. 😈

  • Comment 2, posted at 18.05.08 14:13:56 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • And I hope Bath murders Wasps this afternoon.

  • Comment 3, posted at 18.05.08 14:14:41 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • Toughest league in the world – according to the presenter on Sky.

  • Comment 4, posted at 18.05.08 14:32:11 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • Hope Butch remembers to use his arms.

  • Comment 5, posted at 18.05.08 14:33:21 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • Dewi Morris must be colour blind, he always wears the colourful ties that dont match his suit. 😕

  • Comment 6, posted at 18.05.08 14:35:09 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • LOL, so it going to be just me & you on this thread…

    Am hoping for 3 things:
    1) Bath thrash Wasps
    2) Butch has a blinder to remind PDV who is baas
    3) Dayglo & Danny C get thumped…

  • Comment 7, posted at 18.05.08 14:41:05 by Le Requinny Reply
  • Wasps captain Lawrence Dallaglio has endured a traumatic week ahead of the Guinness Premiership play-off semi-final against Bath in which his six-year-old son Enzo was attacked by the family dog and suffered severe facial wounds.

  • Comment 8, posted at 18.05.08 14:42:02 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • @Le Requinny (Comment 7) : Hope so too.

  • Comment 9, posted at 18.05.08 14:42:48 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • @racheltjiedebeer (Comment 8) :

    I can actually picture Dayglo having a Pit Bull or something…

    Just like I can see Phil Vickery owing a fat bulldog, and Danny C a chiahuahua… what do they say, a man’s dog always resembles his owner?

  • Comment 10, posted at 18.05.08 14:45:16 by Le Requinny Reply
  • Rhodesian ridgeback according to the Sunday Times. Had to be put down.

    Beautiful dogs.

  • Comment 11, posted at 18.05.08 14:48:42 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • @racheltjiedebeer (Comment 11) :

    Huh? That’s a bit uncharacteristic – they’re normally non-aggressive towards people they know. Must have been provoked.

  • Comment 12, posted at 18.05.08 14:51:23 by Le Requinny Reply
  • @Le Requinny (Comment 12) : Very strange. I also thought the are very non-aggressive. My brother-in-law has one, and it’s a lovely dog. Wouldn’t harm a fly.

  • Comment 13, posted at 18.05.08 14:53:44 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • Seems I was wrong:

    “The vet and I believe Como may have had a tumour that is pressing against his brain and when touched on that part of the head, the pain was unbearable and made him react as he did.”

  • Comment 14, posted at 18.05.08 14:53:54 by Le Requinny Reply
  • How can this article claim Matt Stevens as an SA Player?

  • Comment 15, posted at 18.05.08 14:55:59 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • This is what Dallaglio told The Times. “The vet and I believe Como may have had a tumour that is pressing against his brain and when touched on that part of the head, the pain was unbearable and made him react as he did.”

  • Comment 16, posted at 18.05.08 14:56:03 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • Snap. 🙂

  • Comment 17, posted at 18.05.08 14:56:31 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • Time for some beer, blue cheese & bacon chips, and rugby. 😀

  • Comment 18, posted at 18.05.08 14:57:43 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • Okay who said this last week?

    GO BATH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment 19, posted at 18.05.08 14:58:56 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Bath already missed two relaatively easy penalty kicks. 👿

  • Comment 20, posted at 18.05.08 15:09:52 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 15) :

    But he is!

    He was just “poached” by England 😉 !

  • Comment 21, posted at 18.05.08 15:14:50 by Le Requinny Reply
  • Fraser Waters left SA at the age of 11! Represented England Schools, Colts, U21’s and Students. Hardly a true Blue Saffer. 🙄

  • Comment 22, posted at 18.05.08 15:18:38 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • Do you guys also reckon that Paul Sackey is overrrated?

    Someone on Rugby Club called him “the best winger in Europe” the other day, which I find ridiculous…

  • Comment 23, posted at 18.05.08 15:18:44 by Le Requinny Reply
  • @racheltjiedebeer (Comment 22) :

    How sure are you about the 11 bit, cause he went to scool at Bishops – that’s a fact!

  • Comment 24, posted at 18.05.08 15:19:22 by Le Requinny Reply
  • Nick’s brother, his grandparents and his mum’s sisters still live in Johannesburg and 20 of his family watched his England debut in Pretoria. A few of them were supporting South Africa and wearing the green-and-gold.

  • Comment 25, posted at 18.05.08 15:22:17 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • @Le Requinny (Comment 24) : According to Wasps website.

  • Comment 26, posted at 18.05.08 15:22:58 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • @racheltjiedebeer (Comment 25) : Nick Abendanon that is.

  • Comment 27, posted at 18.05.08 15:24:03 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • @Le Requinny (Comment 23) : He’s good, but hardly the best imho.

  • Comment 28, posted at 18.05.08 15:24:56 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • Abendanon alos posed nekkid for charity. 🙄 What’s the world coming to?

  • Comment 29, posted at 18.05.08 15:28:27 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • TMO pending. Think try Bath.

  • Comment 30, posted at 18.05.08 15:30:58 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • Lewsey drops pass inside in-goal area. Try Bath.

  • Comment 31, posted at 18.05.08 15:31:43 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • Conversion over. 7-0 Bath.

  • Comment 32, posted at 18.05.08 15:32:33 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • Try given after a Lewsey fumble behind his own line.

    Dammit, been summoned to the Bath Store abd B&Q by the OH, so going to miss this game 🙁

    Back later for Gloucs – Tigers

  • Comment 33, posted at 18.05.08 15:33:24 by Le Requinny Reply
  • Great pass. Try Wasps.

  • Comment 34, posted at 18.05.08 15:35:03 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • @Le Requinny (Comment 33) : 😆 Know the feeling.

  • Comment 35, posted at 18.05.08 15:36:02 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • 7-7 Fraser Waters scored for Wasps.

  • Comment 36, posted at 18.05.08 15:36:50 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • Wasps playing well.

  • Comment 37, posted at 18.05.08 15:39:05 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • @Le Requinny (Comment 33) : I also have a bathroom that needs redoing …

  • Comment 38, posted at 18.05.08 15:40:23 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Flutey over in the corner.

  • Comment 39, posted at 18.05.08 15:41:01 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • 14-7 Wasps.

  • Comment 40, posted at 18.05.08 15:42:15 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • Half time.

  • Comment 41, posted at 18.05.08 15:48:42 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • Wasps take it. 👿

    Full time 21-10.

  • Comment 42, posted at 18.05.08 17:30:25 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • Late change to Gloucester. Mike Tindall out.

    Probably still drunk from the ‘royal’ wedding yesterday. 😉

  • Comment 43, posted at 18.05.08 17:31:20 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • Bugger, Wasps won… 👿

    How bad is Cipriani’s injury, lol, I see he got klapped :mrgreen: !

  • Comment 44, posted at 18.05.08 17:36:23 by Le Requinny Reply
  • @Le Requinny (Comment 44) : They seem to think it’s broken.

  • Comment 45, posted at 18.05.08 17:44:00 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • @racheltjiedebeer (Comment 45) :

    Am I bad person for wearing this expression on my face :mrgreen: ?

  • Comment 46, posted at 18.05.08 17:45:10 by Le Requinny Reply
  • @Le Requinny (Comment 44) :

    Well at least Butch can come home now 😉

  • Comment 47, posted at 18.05.08 18:40:41 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 47) : Thought occurred to me too

  • Comment 48, posted at 18.05.08 18:43:24 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 47) :

    No he can’t…

    It’s the Euro Challenge Final next weekend, Sun 25 May. Bath play Worcester for that trophy…doubt he will be released just for a training session quite honestly….

  • Comment 49, posted at 18.05.08 18:44:27 by Le Requinny Reply
  • @Le Requinny (Comment 49) :
    forgot about that 😡

  • Comment 50, posted at 18.05.08 18:48:21 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©

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