Wasps dig out a result at the Madejski

Wasps recovered from a scrappy first half performance to score three second-half tries and secure a win to keep them in the top six of the Premiership, three points behind Leicester and Gloucester.

13 - 17
London Irish Wasps

Sun 26th November 2017
3:00 pm

Madejski Stadium Stadium Aviva Premiership As it happened
Trailing 3-0 at the break, they conceded a try to go ten points down, but three tries in ten minutes took them clear of a spirited Irish side, who for long periods had looked to be on course for a much-needed win.

Following the warm-up, Wasps made a late change, when Thomas Young was forced to withdraw from the starting line-up. His place was taken by Guy Thompson, with Jack Willis coming on to the replacements bench.

Irish enjoyed the early possession and high kick towards the right corner caused a few problems, with Josh Bassett unable to reach it before it bounced. The forwards did well to get back and make the ball safe, allowing Joe Simpson to clear to outside the 22.

After eight minutes, Wasps were penalised for not rolling away, a few metres inside their half. Irish went for the corner, finding touch 10 metres out. The initial drive was forced infield where a series of short individual bursts took them up to the line, but the defence held firm and was rewarded with a scrum put-in under the posts. A Wasps penalty ensued and the kick to touch took them outside their 22.  From the lineout, Joe Simpson broke to the blind side and found Josh Bassett, but the winger put a foot in touch.

A minute later, Wasps won another scrum penalty and Jimmy Gopperth’s kick took them into the Irish half, for the first time since kick-off. Quick lineout ball was won but Gaby Lovobalavu’s pass was too sharp for Will Rowlands, who knocked on in midfield. On 18 minutes, Wasps put together their first attack, with Willie Le Roux and Josh Bassett combining down the left to take play into the Irish 22. Juan de Jongh and Joe Simpson were in support and the ball was moved across to the right, where Gaby Lovobalavu was stopped just short before Wasps won a penalty a few metres out. They turned down a simple kick at goal and went for a scrum. Three more penalties and three more scrums followed before Ben Franks was shown a yellow card.

From the fifth scrum, Wasps moved the ball quickly out to the right wing but Willie Le Roux was forced into touch, five metres from the corner. Following the lineout, Wasps gathered the clearance and put several phases together before conceding a penalty ten metres inside the home half. Another excellent attack down the left, with Le Roux and Bassett again combining well, took play up to the Irish 22 but another breakdown penalty ended a promising move.

The deadlock was broken after 30 minutes when Wasps were penalised at a lineout on their 22. Tommy Bell’s successful kick gave his side a deserved lead. Franks returned from the sin bin a minute later. After turning down another kickable penalty, Wasps coughed up possession when they knocked on in a lineout drive five metres from the left corner.

Christian Wade’s first chance to stretch his legs took Wasps deep into the Irish 22 when he kicked ahead and James Marshall was forced into touch, 15 metres out. A blindside lineout move then gave Ashley Johnson the chance to break down the right, but he was also tackled into touch just short of the right corner.

With just over a minute left before half-time, Willie Le Roux gathered a high kick just outside his 22 and broke away down the left. His kick downfield found touch inside the Irish 22. Some neat footwork by Christian Wade in midfield then created space on the right, but a knock-on when play came back infield, brought a disappointing half to a frustrating end.

Irish controlled possession for the opening minutes of the second half, before Wasps were awarded a welcome penalty on their own 22. The kick found touch on halfway, but Wasps again failed to capitalise when the lineout throw was ruled not straight. Wasps finally broke out of their 22 when Nizaam Carr made a powerful burst from a scrum, before feeding Willie Le Roux. He  crossed the halfway line where he tried to find Josh Bassett but the winger was unable to hold on to the pass.

Irish extended their lead on 52 minutes, when Wasps tried to break out of their 22. They had an overlap on the right but a long pass was intercepted by Alex Lewington, who had a clear run-in to the line. Tommy Bell converted to put his side ten points clear.

Wasps were in desperate need of a score and it came four minutes later when skipper Ashley Johnson went over from a lineout drive near the left corner. Jimmy Gopperth’s conversion attempt was narrowly off target. With Wasps now showing some urgency, they began to play with more fluency, but another attempt to attack from deep gifted Irish a penalty, 30 metres out directly in front of the posts. Tommy Bell’s kick stretched their lead to 13-5 as the game entered the final quarter.

Wasps responded with their second try, when Dan Robson broke from the blind side of a ruck. He fed Willie Le Roux, whose short pass to Josh Bassett sent him in from 35 metres, for his sixth Premiership try of the season. Jimmy Gopperth’s conversion ricocheted back off the right-hand post.

Two minutes later, Wasps were in front with a superb breakaway try created by Dan Robson. He darted through a gap and made 20 metres, before passing to Nizaam Carr who had the pace to outstrip the defence and dive over between the posts, for his first Premiership try. Jimmy Gopperth converted to put Wasps four points ahead with twelve minutes left on the clock.

A bonus point was now in sight and a rumbling maul, which made 20 metres, set up the backs for a move which ended with Willie Le Roux’s chip bouncing into touch near the left corner. Another threatening move brought Josh Bassett off his wing, but his pass to Christian Wade went forward 15 metres from the right corner.

Wasps had a chance to secure the bonus point, when Danny Cipriani’s penalty found touch near the right corner, but Irish stole the lineout. Another opportunity went begging when Christian Wade’s pass went forward under pressure from the on-rushing defence. The final minute saw Wasps controlling possession through a series of phases, before Dan Robson kicked to touch to seal a third successive Premiership win. 

London Irish Line ups

  1. Ben Franks
  2. David Paice
  3. Ollie Hoskins
  4. Franco Van Der Merwe
  5. Filo Paulo
  6. Mike Coman
  7. Max Northcote Green
  8. Blair Cowan
  9. Ben Meehan
  10. Tommy Bell
  11. Alex Lewington
  12. Luke McLean
  13. Fergus Mulchrone
  14. Joe Cokanasiga
  15. James Marshall
  16. Tom Woolstencroft
  17. Harry Elrington
  18. Petrus Du Plessis
  19. Sebastian De Chaves
  20. Conor Gilsenan
  21. Scott Steele
  22. Greig Tonks
  23. Tom Fowlie

Wasps Line ups

  1. Simon McIntyre
  2. Ashley Johnson
  3. Jake Cooper-Woolley
  4. James Gaskell
  5. Will Rowlands
  6. James Haskell
  7. Guy Thompson
  8. Nizaam Carr
  9. Joe Simpson
  10. Jimmy Gopperth
  11. Josh Bassett
  12. Gabiriele Lovobalavu
  13. Juan de Jongh
  14. Christian Wade
  15. Willie Le Roux
  16. Nathan Charles
  17. Ben Harris
  18. Martin Moore
  19. Kearnan Myall
  20. Jack Willis
  21. Dan Robson
  22. Danny Cipriani
  23. Rob Miller