English Premiership final 2003
Wasps cruise past lacklustre Gloucester
May 31, 2003
Wasps celebrate their first title since 1997 © Getty Images
London Wasps 39 - 3 Gloucester
London Wasps are the Zurich Premiership Champions after sweeping aside the challenge of Gloucester 39-3 at a sun-baked Twickenham.
Man of the match Alex King slotted 24 points as Wasps totally dominated a lacklustre Gloucester side to clinch the title for the first time since 1997.
The win completes a double for Wasps following their Parker Pen Challenge Cup triumph last weekend and leaves Gloucester to pick through the pieces of what director of rugby Nigel Melvilee labelled a 'disgraceful' performance'.
The game exploded into life with a try in the opening two minute. Some shocking defending was exploited by England new boy Stuart Abbott who cut through the West Country side's line and galloped into Gloucester territory. Josh Lewsey then appeared on his shoulder to accept a simple pass and touch down under the posts. King slotted over the extras.
A Ludovic Mercier penalty reduced the arrears shortly after but that was to be their only score of the game as Wasps continued to dominate all over the park. Two penalties and a drop goal from King stretched their advantage as Gloucester struggled to find any kind of form.
The Wasps' forwards continued to make big gains through the Gloucester defence and just before the break a good drive from prop Craig Dowd put Gloucester on the back foot once again in their 22. The defence once again lost its shape and Lewsey opted for a short side break before dummying Marcel Garvey and racing round under the posts for the second time. King once again slotted over the easy conversion.
Gloucester's chances of a miraculous recovery were all but extinguished shortly into the second half when scrum-half Andy Gommarsall was sin-binned for retaliating to a show of petulance from King.
The decision was a little harsh on Gloucester and to add insult to injury King kicked another nine points courtesy of a drop goal and two penalties whilst Gommarsall watched from the sidelines.
Wasps continued to run the show throughout the second half and desperation only led to more mistakes from Gloucester who had no answer to Wasps' in-your-face defensive approach.
The third try finally came when Gloucester's Peter Buxton spilled a pass in his own 22 under pressure and Worsley scooped up the loose ball before diving over.
Defeat will be hard for Gloucester and their travelling army of supporters after a hard nine month season that promised so much but ended with only a Powergen Cup triumph. It was also a sad farewell for their French duo of Olivier Azam and Ludovic Mercier.
Love or hate the newly adopted play-off system Wasps were good value for their triumph after totally dominating their opposition to rightfully lay claim to the English crown.
Gloucester: 3 Pen: L. Mercier
London Wasps: 39 Tries: Lewsey (2), Worsley Con: King (3) Pen: King (4) Drop Goal: Lewsey
Peter Deakin Man of the Match Medal: Alex King (Wasps) Referee: Tony Spreadbury
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