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Match Report: Leicester Tigers 22 Wasps 34

10 Sep 2016
Match Report: Leicester Tigers 22 Wasps 34

Wasps resisted a second Leicester Tigers comeback in two weeks to win 34-22 and secure their first win at Welford Road since September 2008 and go second in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table.

Dai Young’s side looked to have the game won when they led 27-8 after 47 minutes thanks to tries from Christian Wade, Guy Thompson and Sam Jones, as well as Jimmy Gopperth’s boot but Tigers stirred again.

Lachlan McCaffrey had gone over in the first half, but Ed Slater finished off a sumptuous team try before Freddie Burns knocked over three penalties to bring Tigers to 27-22 with just under 15 minutes left.

But Ellis Genge and Peter Betham were both sent to the bin in the dying stages with Gopperth getting over at the end to seal victory.

Jimmy Gopperth picked up where he left off against Exeter Chiefs, kicking a penalty after four minutes to put Wasps ahead at Welford Road.

Burns pulled Leicester level after 20 minutes after strong scrummaging from Tigers’ all-international front-row, but Gopperth restored Wasps’ advantage the hosts were pinged for a maul infringement.

Gopperth and Wade then combined with 27 minutes gone to slice Tigers open, the experienced Kiwi exploiting weak blindside defence and racing up the touchline before dabbing a perfectly-weighted kick which Wade collected after outstripping the covering Leicester defence.

It didn’t take long for Leicester to force a reply as No.8 McCaffrey created and finished his own try.

McCaffrey looked up and saw space and Wasps winger Josh Bassett struggled to control the bobbling ball, when Leicester piled into the resultant ruck the ball popped up McCaffrey bounced over from close-range, but Burns missed the conversion attempt.

Gopperth had another penalty chance just before half-time but pushed it wide, leaving Tigers 13-8 adrift.

Wasps were the next to profit from a bouncing ball as Peter Betham fumbled and Tommy Taylor was on the ball quick as a flash.

It did take a bit of Thompson magic to finish off, a strong fend took him through the Leicester line before he accelerated under the posts.

Young’s men started moving through the gears and when Joe Simpson seared through the Tigers’ defence and it took a Matthew Tait cover tackle to stop him getting over himself, but that was only a delay as Jones barrelled through weak Leicester defence for a converted try.

Though it had been all Wasps, Tigers came back with a length-of-the-field team try started off by fly-half Burns.

The former Gloucester Rugby man chipped over Wasps’ defence and collected, dancing through two tackles before kicking ahead again and with JP Pietersen haring in on it, the South African controlled superbly with his shins, before collecting the bouncing ball and shifting for Slater to dive over.

Burns missed the conversion, but was on target with a penalty three minutes later before reducing the deficit to eight points with 25 minutes remaining and then badly missing another shot on 60 minutes.

Thompson then found himself in the sinbin for a late hit on Burns, with the Tigers outside-half banging over the resultant penalty to take the hosts within five.

But Wasps refused to be consumed by the Tigers fightback and after Genge and Betham were both yellow carded, Gopperth sealed the historic win.

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