After watching his side squander a 42-17 lead en route to an LV= Cup defeat against Cardiff Blues, Wasps defence coach Brad Davis is demanding a reaction from his players against Northampton Saints next week.
Thomas Young’s double as well as scores from Viliami Helu, Sailosi Tagicakibau, Guy Thompson and a penalty try gave Wasps a 25-point advantage early in the second half with Macauley Cook and Lewis Jones crossing for the Blues.
But the game turned as Cardiff stormed back – Miles Normandale, Lucas Amorosino and Seb Davies all crossing to close the gap to just four points.
And after a tense final few minutes, Normandale crashed his way over the whitewash as time expired to give the Welsh side an unlikely 45-42 victory.
Wasps now head to Franklin’s Gardens to face Northampton next Saturday with their LV= Cup hopes on life support – four points behind Pool 3 leaders Leicester Tigers with one game to go.
The defeat to Cardiff also means Wasps’ unbeaten streak at the Ricoh Arena is now at an end and Davis believes the fans who came to support the side in their droves deserved better.
“To give up our winning record at the Ricoh Arena, considering the position we were in was extremely disappointing,” said Davis.
“The support from the people who came out to watch the game was brilliant. To have over 9,000 people come out, considering the corresponding fixture last season had an attendance of just over 5,000, was phenomenal.
“That makes it even more disappointing that we served up that second 40 minutes of rugby, which really wasn’t good enough.
“To score 42 points at home and be on the losing side tells the story really. What we did with ball in hand was good but defensively we just weren’t good enough.
“Next weekend is a great opportunity to prepare for the fixture the week after and give us some momentum going back into the Aviva Premiership.”
The Blues’ win means they are now three for three in this season’s LV= Cup and sit atop Pool 2 on 13 points.
A win at home to Leicester next week will guarantee qualification for the knockout stages and they may still go through even with a loss.
Blues assistant coach Andy Kyriacou admits his side may have a slightly different look against the Tigers but insists he was ultimately pleased with the proverbial ‘game of two halves’ against Wasps.
“We were lazy in the first half as we were too slow getting to our feet,” said Kyriacou. “The boys were disappointed with themselves in the changing rooms at the interval.
“We showed how we could get in behind them in the second half and some of the young guys who came off the bench made a massive impact.
“Unfortunately we'll lose some of the young guns to the Welsh U20s squad for next week but we may have a few back from injury including Lou Reed.”
Wasps: Lozowski; Helu (Howe 71), Masi, Tagicakibau, Bassett; Hughes (O’Connor 63), Davies (Small-Edwards 47); Yapp (Lundberg 59), Lindsay (Shervington 65), Swainston (Taylor 59); Rowlands (Hirskyj-Douglas 73), Cannon; Jackson, Young, Thompson (Lawrence 47).
Cardiff Blues: Tuculet; R Smith (Walsh 66), G Smith (Humberstone 71), Thomas, Amorosino; Patchell, Jones (T Williams 54); T Davies (Thyer 71), R Williams (Belcher 50), Mitchell (D Lewis 56); Normandale, S Davies (Roach 63); Cook, Jenkins, Sheekey (Viggers 73).
Tries: Helu, penalty, Young 2, Tagicakibau, Thompson
Conversions: Lozowski 6
Tries: Cook, Jones, Normandale 2, Amorosino, S Davies
Conversions: Patchell 6
Referee: Tom Foley