Wasps banished the spectre of their crushing defeat at the hands of Newcastle Falcons by grinding out a gritty victory at Sale Jets in the Premiership Rugby A League on Monday night.
Having been humbled 67-21 in front of their home supporters by Falcons seven days previous, Wasps arrived at Heywood Road with a point to prove and promptly recorded a 22-12 victory to claim their first win of the new season.
Sale, who included ex-England and Wasps hooker Rob Webber, as well as two other players with international experience in Halani Aulika and Johnny Leota, formerly of Tonga and Samoa respectively, in their line-up, exploded out of the blocks.
Tough away opportunity which brought some very good passages of play in applying & regaining pressure & momentum.Some v gd learning & tries!
— Jonathan Pendlebury (@JonSkindlebury) September 11, 2017
Arron Reed broke and teed up George Nott for a third-minute try, Alex Dolly adding the extras, but Wasps hit back and began to turn the screw, the breakthrough coming courtesy of Will Millett feeding Antonio Harris, who charged over the whitewash.
The visitors continued to stream forward and had their second try of the evening when a successful lineout led to Tom Willis and winger Aaron O’Sullivan combining to tee up Millett for a score, Jacob Umaga converting.
Jets’ Dolly pulled a penalty wide in the 30th minute and then, after his brother Nic was shown a yellow card for entering from the side, Wasps took full advantage by driving Will Stuart over the line, Umaga again booting the extras to make it 19-7 at the break.
In the second period, the visitors’ Ben Harris was yellow-carded for foul play and Laurence Pearce chipped away at the deficit but Wasps stayed strong to claim victory, Umaga rounding things off with a 66th-minute penalty.
Elsewhere, Harlequins – beaten 20-9 by Exeter Braves in their season-opener on September 4 – bounced back with a seven-try success at London Irish.
🤔 Got 101 seconds?
🎥 Check out Harlequins A’s seven tries from last night’s 7-45 win over London Irish A pic.twitter.com/M26jAbo2sj
— Harlequins 🃏 (@Harlequins) September 12, 2017
Harry Sloan, Dino Lamb, John Okafor and Tim Visser all dotted down in the first period, with Ollie Hoskins crossing the whitewash for Irish.
It remained mostly one-way traffic in the second period, with Callum Waters and a James Lang brace rounding off a 45-7 victory for Harlequins at Hazelwood.
What they said:
Wasps academy manager Jon Pendlebury said: “I thought it was a really good effort all-round.
“We had a number of changes from last week and owe a big thank you to those clubs who have supported us.
“Almost all of the 23 trained together on Saturday and that showed in a much better all-round performance.
“We’re trying to create a competitive A League team that can go to places like Sale and [Leicester] Tigers and hold its own.
“Sale put out a strong team and I was really pleased with some of the pressure we were able to apply, and the tries we scored.”
Exeter Braves 28-19 Bristol United
Northampton Wanderers 38-10 Leicester Tigers
Gloucester United 36-26 Bath United
Sale Jets 12-22 Wasps
London Irish 7-45 Harlequins