x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Andy Powell's actions sting London Wasps

After all the club's efforts to promote the sport, brawl tarnishes their name, writes Geoffrey Riddle.

Andy Powell, the London Wasps and Wales No 8, left, is no stranger to controversy. Scott Heavey / Getty Images
Andy Powell, the London Wasps and Wales No 8, left, is no stranger to controversy. Scott Heavey / Getty Images

St George's Day is England's national day and as part of the celebrations London Wasps and Bath, the Premiership clubs, will clash at Twickenham tomorrow in aid of four armed forces charities.

Considering that Wasps worked so hard to move their LV Cup tie against Harlequins out to the UAE earlier this year to broaden the sport's appeal, the London side have put in a noble effort over the past few months.

And yet on Monday night all of the club's hard work was undone in an instant when Andy Powell, the Wasps and Wales No 8, was caught up in a fracas that resulted in him losing two pints of blood after a bar brawl.

Powell, who was in a West London pub with fellow Wasps forward Tim Payne, claimed that after "a bit of banter" with around 10 football fans he was beaten to the floor with a bar stool.

"It was pretty scary. I curled up into a ball and put my hands over my face and temples but couldn't cover the back of my head," said the 29-year-old, who boasts 17 caps for his country. "I was taken away in a wheelchair and then taken by ambulance to a hospital. It was just one of those things."

As a result, both Powell and Payne were suspended by the Wasps management, who are said to be furious at the players for even allowing themselves to be drawn in to such a situation ahead of a match that could have serious financial implications.

Wasps lie in eighth position in the Premiership, out of the running for a play-off place and five points behind tomorrow's opponents, who are in sixth place and occupy the final berth for lucrative Heineken Cup qualification next season.

Wasps can lean on the fact that in the two encounters against Bath this season they have won both, but last year in the same fixture Bath triumphed 35-19.

The loss of both players is a serious blow, but it could have been worse. What the side have lacked this season is not grunt up front, but more attacking bite. Wasps have secured just one bonus try point in the league this season - it the reason why Josh Lewsey, the former England back and world cup winner, has been coaxed out of retirement.

Powell is no stranger to controversy, of course. A little over a year ago his international career was in ruins after he pleaded guilty to being over the alcohol limit and in control of a golf buggy at a service station outside Cardiff after Wales's victory over Scotland in the Six Nations.

Almost exactly 12 months before that, he and Gavin Henson, who was also allegedly involved in a brawl at the weekend with a Toulon teammate, were forced to apologise to the Wales management for "varying degrees of regrettable conduct".


Rugby Review


Manly 20 Warriors 10

Queensland 28 Canberra 18

Sydney 2 Brisbane 24

Newcastle 24 Cronulla 20

Penrith 10 Melbourne 25

South Sydney 0 St George 16

Aviva Premiership

Bath 19 Harlequins 15

Exeter 12 Saracens 33

Leicester 41 Gloucester 41

Sale 20 London Irish 34

Wasps 51 Leeds Carnegie 18

Gloucester 27 Northampton 15

Super 15

Chiefs 16 Crusaders 34

Rebels 18 Highlanders 40

Blues 31 Waratahs 17

Reds 39 Bulls 30

Lions 19 Stormers 33

Cheetahs 47 Hurricanes 50

Brumbies 19 Force 27

Table    P    W    D    L    P

Reds    8    7    0    1    35

Crusaders    8    6    1    1    35

Stormers    8    7    0    1    33

Blues     8    6    1    1    34

Highlanders    8    6    0    2    30

Sharks    8    5    0    3    29

Waratahs    8    5    0    3    27

Bulls    8    4    0    4    21

Rebels     8    3    0    5    19

Hurricanes    8    2    1    5    18

Brumbies    8    2    0    6    17

Chiefs    8    2    0    6    16

Force    8    2    1    5    16

Cheetahs    9    1    0    8    11

Lions    9    1    0    8    9

Performance of the weekend

The record breaking 10-try match between Leicester and Gloucester

Super 15

• Newcastle v Leicester

• Sale v Exeter

• London Irish v Northampton

• Wasps v Bath

• Leeds v Harlequins

• Saracens v Gloucester

• Brumbies v Force

Aviva Premiership

• Blues v Rebels

• Crusaders v Highlanders

• Lions v Chiefs

• Reds v Waratahs

• Sharks v Hurricanes

• Force v Bulls

Fixture of the weekend

The historic Asian Five Nations game for the newly formed UAE against Sri Lanka.