Wasps edge out 14-man Leicester in Premiership thriller

A converted Josh Bassett try in the corner put Wasps in control at 14-0 up after 15 minutes
Gallagher Premiership
Wasps (25) 41
Tries: De Jongh (2), Bassett, Hughes Cons: Sopoaga 3 Pens: Sopoaga 4, Daly
Leicester (18) 35
Tries: May 2, Veainu, Kalamafoni Cons: Ford 3 Pens: Ford 3

Wasps resisted a courageous second-half display by 14-man Leicester Tigers to earn a narrow victory in a captivating eight-try game at the Ricoh Arena.

Scores by Juan de Jongh and Josh Bassett saw Wasps race 14-0 ahead.

Tigers hit back to trail 25-18, but the controversial dismissal of Will Spencer for a dangerous tackle turned the game heavily in Wasps' favour by the break.

Johnny May's second try helped put Tigers ahead but three Lima Sopoaga kicks sealed victory for the hosts.

Sopoaga's reliability with the boot ultimately proved the difference as the sides each picked up a bonus point for registering four tries in a thrilling, open, contest enriched by some dubious defending.

But Spencer's red card, so soon after the Tigers got back to within seven points of their hosts, was a telling moment.

The Leicester second-rower was adjudged to have gone high into a challenge on Wasps hooker Tommy Taylor, and made contact with the head with his shoulder.

Will Spencer's red card was the first of his career

De Jongh had gone over for the opening score after Dan Robson took advantage of a fortunate break to run deep from his own half and Bassett collected Elliot Daly's fine kick to score in the corner.

Nathan Hughes bundled over after a Gareth Owen knock-on for a third home score in between George Ford setting up tries for May, with an astute kick, and Telusa Veainu.

The Tigers pack started to rattle Wasps after the interval, resulting in Sione Kalamafoni's close-range effort.

And, after a dazzling de Jongh try, another May and Ford combination saw the England wing grab his second try to put Tigers ahead at 35-32.

However, Sopoaga kept his nerve from three consecutive kicks against a jaded visiting side, to close out a second win in three matches for Wasps.

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young told BBC Coventry & Warwickshire:

"First and foremost, I'm really pleased we won. I was really pleased with the first-half performance, there was lots of good stuff.

"Second half was a bit frustrating as, against 14 men, we talked about making sure we kept hold of the ball and played field position for the first 20 minutes of the restart, kept our discipline.

"We did exactly the opposite pretty much and gave away six penalties in a row and handed the momentum back to them.

"We've got to learn from that and realise that if we want to kick on and be a better side than we are, we've got to nail those opportunities."

Leicester interim head coach Geordan Murphy told BBC Radio Leicester:

"I don't think it was a red card. Will is 6ft 10in, he's tackling a shorter guy who's actually falling over, pulling out of a tackle.

"It's a very difficult one, but if Tommy Taylor was standing up tall, Will was probably going to hit him around the nipple line, which is just an absolutely perfect tackle.

"That's the way it is, so it's disappointing to say the least.

"We did some really good things in the second half. We probably fed them too much in the first half and gifted them 19 points.

"I thought we controlled long stages of the game much better in the second half."

Wasps: Daly; Wade, De Jongh, Le Bourgeois, Bassett; Sopoaga, Robson; Harris, Taylor, Brookes, Launchbury (capt), Gaskell, Johnson, Carr, Hughes.

Replacements: Cruse, Zhvania, Stuart, Rowlands, Morris, Simpson, Searle, Miller.

Leicester: Veainu; Thompstone, Tuilagi, Owen, May; Ford, B Youngs; Bateman, T Youngs (capt), Cole, Williams, Spencer, Denton, Thompson, Kalamafoni.

Replacements: Stevens, Feao, Heyes, Wells, Lewis, White, Hardwick, Olowofela.

Referee: Ian Tempest.

Source: BBC Rugby Union News

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By adamreeves / Administrator, bbp_keymaster on Sep 16, 2018