Wasps wreck Johnno's farewell
May 14, 2005
Martin Johnson was denied a dream send-off
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Wasps 39-14 Leicester
Wasps ensured that Leicester legends Martin Johnson and Neil Back would look back with regret on their final fling in a Tigers shirt, romping to a 39-14 victory in the Premiership final at Twickenham.
The Londoners hit the ground running and scored 13 unanswered points in eight minutes to take control, with Johnson and Back overshadowed by their former England team-mates Joe Worsley, Simon Shaw and Lawrence Dallaglio.
Back is set to tour with the Lions this summer but will be forced into an anxious wait for a possible citing after felling Worsley with a sickening punch, which went unpunished.
Wasps also bade farewell to coach Warren Gatland, who will return to New Zealand with Waikato after winning three Premiership titles, the Heineken Cup and Challenge Cup in his time with the club.
Fullback Mark van Gisbergen bagged 26 points including a try while Tom Voyce and Rob Hoadley also scored five-pointers in front of 66,000 fans. Scott Bemand scored a consolation try for the Tigers, with fly-half Andy Goode kicking three penalties.
Wasps skipper Dallaglio felt that his charges had not been granted the respect they deserved as reigning champions in the build-up, but the No.8 was pleased that they were able to turn this to their advantage.
"When you turn on the radio and TV and keep hearing of Martin Johnson and Neil Back - two of the greatest players the game has ever seen and they rightly deserve the praise they get - it gets to you a bit,'' he said. "We have been champions the last two years. We are a side that win when we have to win and I am really proud of the performance from everyone today.
"This was the showpiece final. It is about getting it right on the day but a lot of work goes into the whole season and we really put it together today. Johnno could arguably be called the greatest player ever in this country. He hates all that and you have got to feed off any motivation you can. When you play Leicester you have got to play on the edge. Today we had the edge."
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