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Match Report: London Irish 15 Wasps 33

28 Nov 2015
Match Report: London Irish 15 Wasps 33

Wasps carried their European form back onto the Aviva Premiership Rugby stage with a convincing win over London Irish in the London Double Header at Twickenham.

They found it hard going in the first half, managing just one try from Frank Halai, but he added a second after the break, with Elliot Daly and Thomas Young also going over to seal the bonus point.

London Irish did cross the whitewash themselves, with youngster Johnny Williams grabbing both tries, but remain pointless after a fifth defeat of the season.

Wasps had the better of the opening period, but struggled to make their dominance tell, despite a fourth-minute penalty from Ruaridh Jackson to open the scoring.

The Exiles responded through Chris Noakes but a second Jackson penalty, following one miss, had Wasps nudging in front midway through the half.

Unlike in their recent European successes though, the Coventry-based side found it hard to break down their opponents, and were constantly frustrated by the Exiles.

The first try finally came just before half-time, with the Irish defence finally breaking after being so impressive for much of the half. It came when Charles Piutau took a quick tap to leave Tom Coventry’s side scrambling.

The ball was quickly shifted to James Haskell who was stopped just short. Two bursts from props Jake Cooper-Woolley and Matt Mullan forced Irish to infringe, and with penalty advantage Joe Simpson spread the ball wide for Halai to cross in the corner. Jackson missed the conversion but Wasps seemed in control at 11-3.

However, having been on the back foot for most of the half, the Exiles stirred into life in response, and managed what Leinster and Toulon could not with a try against Dai Young’s side.

A break from Alex Lewington got them into the heart of the Wasps defence, and after going right, they came back to the left for Williams to score a try in his first Aviva Premiership Rugby start. Noakes missed his second kick of the afternoon but Irish were back in it, trailing 11-8 at the break.

With four minutes played of the second half, Jackson had the chance to put Wasps further ahead but his attempt at the posts went wide.

Just three minutes later, Charles Piutau knocked the ball on and the resulting scrum saw London Irish awarded a penalty – however Noakes’ was also off-target.

With 50 minutes on the clock, Daly showed a strong burst of pace as he blistered through the London Irish defence to cross the whitewash for Wasps’ second try of the match. Jackson was at hand to covert the try to give Wasps some breathing space.

Moments later, Jackson’s replacement Jimmy Gopperth extended the Wasps lead with a well-struck penalty.

However, London Irish closed the gap almost immediately when 19 year-old Williams was on hand to get on the end of a kick through from Aseli Tikoirotuma. Noakes added the conversion to bring Irish within six points of Wasps.

With 70 minutes gone, the Wasps pack’s energy and stamina paid off when Young secured try number three for Wasps after a catch and drive from a five metre line out. Gopperth converted to give Wasps a 28-15 lead with just ten minutes to go.

And they wrapped up the bonus point with a great break from Daly setting up Halai for his second and Wasps’ fourth.

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