Richmond v Wasps
The gulfs set between the top, middle and bottom of the league were there for all to see. Wasps had succumbed to Quins in the previous round at home. At Richmond under lights they proved far too strong for the hosts.
The core skills were there to view. On the one side, handling was iffy and the odd forward got in the way of a half-back link; on the other, attacks were organised and plentiful.
Harriet Millar-Mills stayed only half-an-hour at action stations. Then she was replaced by Liz Crake to ensure a safe and steady return to top-flight rugby. But in that time she made decisive contributions. She helped give the Wasps pack huge go-forward at the set-scrum; from there she would drive ahead and offer
Claudia Macdonald an over-the-shoulder pass to keep the move advancing; or she took matters into her own hands and drove over the line.
By then Wasps had already set out their stall. A fine handling move saw Abby Dow go over from the far right.
Millar-Mills’ withdrawal had no adverse effect on her team. A third try came from a brilliant handling move where the ball, moving left, was switched back inside, but Dow continued the line of attack left to score a second in the corner.
A new name entered Wasps’ scoring charts as Sofia Rolfi (wearing No.15 today) danced through to ensure the bonus point.
Only the visitors have figured positively in this report thus far, but Richmond had been putting everything into it. Trouble was, they found it so hard getting behind the opposition defences. But now, offered a penalty close in, they opted bravely for a kick to touch. Unfortunately they couldn’t convert the line-out into points.
Claudia Macdonald moved to the wing to give Lucy Nye a run at scrum-half. Nye took full advantage by scurrying away to mark a fifth try for the visitors.
It wasn’t until the 76th minute that Richmond completed a deserved score. And it was the sharpest knife in their box, Laura Kapo, who achieved the feat. They had battered away at the Wasps line, lost possession and lost ground, but fought back gallantly.
Wasps were stung into retaliation (serves wasps right!). One more brilliant passage of play saw Claudia Macdonald take a three-inch off-load at full throttle to accelerate and reach the right corner. The pace she achieved in these closing moments of the game was breathtaking.
Final score: 5-36
This win places Wasps fifth in the table, six points ahead of DMP Sharks but a crucial five points behind Gloucester-Hartpury, who occupy the last qualifying place for the knock-out stage at the end of the season.