Snow shovellers pave way for Wasps to earn convincing win

WASPS director of rugby Tony Hanks was delighted with the pay-off for the hard work which ensured yesterday's Heineken Cup clash with Newport Gwent Dragons went ahead.

The Wycombe-based club romped to a 37-10 bonus-point victory in front of a 1,236 crowd at Adams Park that lifted them to the summit of Pool Six, three points clear of Toulouse.

The match was given the green light less than three hours before kick-off with a lack of medical support staff threatening to force its postponement.

"We were rapt that the game was played. It's credit to everyone involved getting the game on by getting the right areas clear," said Hanks.

"It shows what you can do if you invest in your pitch. The pitch was great and the under-soil heating worked. We were also pleased at the number who braved the elements because they had to walk to the game if they wanted to come.

"The team got a call last night and were told to get here early. They were here for breakfast. To finish the way they did was great."

Hooker Joe Ward, full-back Mark van Gisbergen, winger Tom Varndell and scrum-half Nic Berry crossed while man of the match Dave Walder finished with 17 points as Wasps ran riot in the second half.

Toulouse should return to the top of the pool when their twice-postponed showdown with Glasgow is staged on Tuesday night.

But with fixtures against Glasgow away and Toulouse at home to come, Wasps have a great chance of qualifying.

"We looked in good shape in the second half. That allowed us to play the rugby we wanted to right until the end," said Hanks. "We had a lot of respect for the Dragons and to be fair to them they really came at us. It sets the pool up well but we've got a pretty tough trip away to Glasgow in the next game."

England centre Riki Flutey made his first appearance since sustaining a calf injury in October and proved influential after stepping off the bench for the final quarter.

"It's been a long time since he's played so it was good to get him out there and get some contact," said Hanks.

Cardiff Blues coach Dai Young refused to be drawn on the two controversial incidents in his side's 23-19 defeat to Pool One leaders Northampton.

The home side had key man Xavier Rush sent off for a dangerous tackle and then the television match official awarded a try against Cardiff when Saints replacement Calum Clark looked suspiciously short of the line.

"They were certainly talking points in the tunnel," admitted Young, "but the referee (Frenchman Jerome Garces) has made his decisions and there's no point in me saying anything."

Young admitted his team had probably lost to the better side. "We had enough opportunities in the first half and didn't take them," said Young.