With Northampton Saints looking for a ninth straight victory over London Wasps and the home side hoping to make it four wins on the spin in all competitions something had to give, and it was the visitors who left victorious after Stephen Myler’s late penalty.
Going into the final few seconds Saints trailed 15-14 but the fly-half stepped up to slot a last-gasp three-pointer after Wasps were penalised at the scrum to win the game.
Wasps No.10 Joe Carlisle – on as an early second half replacement for Andy Goode – looked to have won it for the Londoners when he bisected the posts with a penalty with just two minutes on the clock.
But Myler, who ended the day with 12 points in all, kept his composure to ensure Saints have only been on the losing side once in this season’s Aviva Premiership.
Christian Day’s first-half try set them on their way, with Wasps staying in touch through the boots of Elliot Daly, Goode and Carlisle.
Tom Wood’s sin-binning 10 minutes from time looked to have hampered Northampton’s cause, but Myler’s nerves of steel ensured they returned home with a vital win.
In blustery conditions, both sides opted for the high ball early on but neither got much reward until Luther Burrell was penalised for taking Goode after he had sent the ball up. With Goode needing treatment, Daly stepped up to land the penalty and give the home side an early lead.
Northampton looked to have given an immediate riposte as Burrell picked up a loose ball to score, but the centre was denied by the TMO, who felt Day had infringed in the build-up.
But lock Day soon made amends as he profited from a powerful lineout drive to dot down and give his team the lead with 12 minutes gone.
Wasps missed the chance to go back in front soon after as Daly lashed a penalty wide of the posts. Myler wasn’t going to make the same mistake at the other end, landing a kick in front of the posts to put Northampton five points ahead before Goode replied.
The Wasps fly-half was just starting to get on top and after missing a drop goal he pushed a penalty through the rain to give his team the lead.
Myler put Northampton back in front before half-time, with his excellent kick from near halfway a reward for a big scrum from the men in lime.
Goode attempted to send Wasps in in front at the break but his drop goal attempt lacked the necessary power and direction to trouble the uprights.
Goode was only able to last four second-half minutes as injury struck and Carlisle was sent on in his place. The replacement No.10’s first involvement was to make a mess of a drop goal attempt from in front of the posts with the pressure building on Northampton.
Saints made the most of that let-off, extending their lead with a well-struck Myler penalty from the left. But Wasps were refusing to go away and Carlisle’s successful long-range penalty kept them in touch at 14-12 down with 15 minutes to go.
Daly’s huge kick from inside his own half fell just short but Wasps were soon handed a big advantage as Tom Wood was sent to the sin bin for foul play. Daly missed the penalty from wide left, but Wasps had their tails up heading into the final seven minutes.
Carlisle looked to have snatched victory after Lee Dickson was penalised for an unsafe tackle on Launchbury, but Myler kept his nerve to win it for Saints with the final kick.