Aviva Premiership: London Wasps go seventh with 38-30 win over Gloucester at Twickenham
Last Updated: 19/04/14 5:36pm
London Wasps moved into the European play-off spot with a 38-30 victory over Gloucester in the Aviva Premiership at Twickenham.
With Exeter suffering a 55-12 drubbing at Sandy Park, Dai Young's side moved up to seventh which, under the new European structure, offers a play-off against the seventh-placed Top 14 side for a place in next season's Rugby Champions Cup.
James Haskell scored twice, while Tom Varndell, Elliot Daly and Ashley Johnson all crossed the whitewash as Wasps claimed a bonus-point victory and inflicted a third successive defeat on Gloucester, who remain ninth in the Premiership standings.
England winger Jonny May, Huia Edmonds and Freddie Burns all scored for the away side but they were unable to overtake Wasps, despite the hosts finishing the game with 13 men on the field.
Wasps seized the initiative early as Haskell forced a turnover in midfield before Will Helu pierced through the Gloucester defence.
The Tongan winger released Haskell to his right and the flanker charged towards the line to touch down the opening try of the match, despite the best efforts of Gloucester full-back Rob Cook, who almost got a hand under the ball.
Gloucester's riposte came courtesy of a Wasps fumble in midfield, which allowed May to slide over the line, before Twelvetrees restored parity with the conversion.
Wasps seized control of the tie midway through the opening period as Andy Goode took advantage of Gloucester's indiscipline at the breakdown with a three-pointer.
Moments later, Varndell underlined his return from a three-month absence as he intercepted the ball on halfway before racing under the posts, leaving Goode a simple conversion as he extended Wasps' lead to 10.
Two Twelvetrees penalties reduced Gloucester's arrears to four, but it was Wasps who remained in the ascendancy.
Centre Chris Bell broke through the middle of the Gloucester defence before feeding Daly, who thrust over the line for Wasps' third try of the half.
Goode's conversion nudged the capital side further in front, before a third Twelvetrees strike from the tee reduced Gloucester's deficit to eight at the break.
Davies' side made an assertive return from the interval and Wasps showed signs of buckling under the pressure as Helu was sent to the sin bin.
However, Gloucester were unable to make their personnel advantage pay and found themselves under a sustained period of pressure, which eventually led to a Wasps bonus-point try.
Johnson flew over the whitewash out wide, before Goode nailed the conversion from the touchline to extend Wasps' lead to 15 points with 20 minutes to play.
Gloucester refused to relent and after pounding the Wasps defence for several minutes, hooker Edmonds finally dotted the ball down and Twelvetrees added the extras.
When Haskell crossed for a fifth try for Wasps, which replacement kicker Joe Carlisle converted, Wasps appeared to be home and dry.
They were made to sweat in the closing stages however as Johnson was shown a yellow card.
Wasps seemed to have escaped danger, until Gloucester fly-half Burns snapped an interception from nowhere to race under the posts.
Twelvetrees' conversion brought Gloucester within eight points and the sin-binning of Wasps full-back Andrea Masi - leaving the hosts with 13 men - five minutes from time gave them renewed hope of a bonus point.
Try as they may, Gloucester were unable to make their advantage pay as Wasps held out to claim full points and give their European dreams a shot in the arm.
Aviva Premiership 2013/14 Round 20
Saracens strengthened their position at the top of the Aviva Premiership table with a 23-18 victory over Newcastle.
Bath first-team coach declined to criticise the referee for George Ford's yellow card during the win over Worcester.
Bath moved back up to third in the Aviva Premiership table thanks to a 32-20 victory over bottom club Worcester.