Fourteen points from the boot of fly-half Dave Walder helped guide Wasps to a slender 24-22 victory over Leicester last night. Walder kicked four penalties and a conversion as his side leapfrogged their opponents to go fourth in the table. Paul Sackey and Steve Kefu both scored first-half tries for Wasps at Adams Park, with the visitors staying in the hunt through five penalties from Toby Flood.
Though No 8 Jordan Crane went over for a last-minute try for Leicester, which was converted by Aaron Mauger, it was not enough to deny Wasps their third home victory of the season. Meanwhile Saracens director of rugby Brendan Venter paid tribute to fly-half Derick Hougaard after his boot maintained their unbeaten start to the season as they defeated Sale 15-13 at Vicarage Road on Saturday.
The former Springbok kicked five penalties as the league leaders came from behind at half-time to make it nine wins from 10 games after Sisaro Koyailmailbole had scored a try in the 28th minute for Sale. Venter said: "In those conditions, Derick was outstanding. He not only kicked his goals but also controlled the game in the important areas. Venter is confident in his side's ability to stay the course, adding: "Our next league game will be the halfway mark but I believe we can win the title, we are good enough as a squad."
Bath are planning to mount a vehement defence of their England winger Matt Banahan after he was sent-off during Saturday's 15-13 loss at Northampton. Banahan received his marching orders for reckless use of the boot on Stephen Myler. But Bath were aggrieved by his 66th-minute dismissal that will mean an RFU disciplinary hearing and the possibility of a minimum two-week ban. "We will see what happens from a judicial point of view, but from where I was sitting it didn't look like a red card," said Bath head coach Steve Meehan.
"It is even worse that Stephen Myler said that he [Banahan] made contact with his forearm, not his head. Matt's pretty down in the dumps about it. "I do know that the assistant referee said he made contact with his head. The referee wasn't influenced by anyone except the assistant referee, who told him it was a red card." * With agencies