Wasps continued their unbeaten run against Newcastle Falcons as two tries each for Dan Robson and Thomas Young helped them to a 34-20 win at Kingston Park.
Unbeaten in their last five encounters with the Falcons going into the match, visiting Wasps maintained their impressive recent form in all competitions although it was far from an easy ride.
Twice the Wasps stung their opponents with quick-fire back-to-back tries – George Smith and Robson in the first half – and then Young and Robson after the break.
But each time Falcons managed to muster a response with Taione Vea going over in the first half and George McGuigan doing likewise in the second 40.
But despite the hosts pushing hard for the final score, including Andy Goode stepping off the bench against his former club for his last game for Newcastle before retirement, they were unable to claw back the difference, with Young rounding off the afternoon late on for Wasps with his second.
Newcastle, who have now suffered five successive Aviva Premiership Rugby defeats, were the quicker out of the blocks with Wasps’ ill-discipline handing their opponents a succession of penalties.
But the hosts were unable to capitalise with their set-piece and were then dealt another blow when scrum-half Michael Young was forced off through injury on his 100th appearance.
They did however get their first points on the board on 14 minutes when Mike Delany was successful with his penalty from just outside the 22.
Wasps looked to respond and great attacking play from Young, Jimmy Gopperth and Robson took them to within five metres of the Falcons line but the ball was eventually lost.
The momentum appeared to be shifting and a great break by Rob Miller again had Newcastle on the back foot, with Simon Hammersley desperately stopping the Wasps man but Gopperth drew matters level on 22 minutes with a penalty.
Elliot Daly then took the opportunity to stretch his legs with a searing run but the Falcons were eventually able to turn over possession.
But the visitors were not to be denied long and they deservedly took the lead on 26 minutes when Smith cut inside from the right before nipping in over the line for the game’s first try – Gopperth’s conversion making it 10-3.
Wasps had their tails up and suddenly it was 15-3 when Christian Wade set up the opportunity with a quick break before Robson picked up the ball, dummied one way and then dotted down as the visitors picked up their second try inside three minutes.
Newcastle looked to have hit back immediately when Marcus Watson stepped inside and beat two men before racing to the line from 22 metres out but the TMO wiped it off for an earlier infringement, much to the annoyance of the home crowd.
But they were not to be denied a second time right on the stroke of half-time as a period of sustained pressure eventually resulted in Vea powering over from a scrum, with Delany’s conversion making it 15-10.
After a scrappy start to the second-half, Delany’s second penalty of the match reduced the difference to just two points.
But two tries in the space of two minutes put Wasps firmly back in the driving seat just short of the hour mark.
First it was the turn of Robson to dot down against the protective cushion of the post after Joe Launchbury had been held up agonisingly short following a scrum.
And after Gopperth missed what appeared to be a seemingly straightforward conversion from in front of the posts, the Wasps fly-half made no mistake just minutes later to add the extras having played in Young with a dazzling break.
But again Falcons would not roll over and McGuigan seized upon Chris Harris’ offload to rumble over on 65 minutes with Delany’s extras taking them back to within a converted score.
With the crowd roaring them on, Watson almost got in for Wasps but Miller and Gopparth were back covering.
Former Wasp Goode was then introduced but he could do nothing as Young bundled over following a period of sustained pressure from the visitors.
If you want to be at the world’s biggest club rugby final, this year’s Aviva Premiership Rugby Final on 28 May, tickets are still available from premiershiprugby.com/final.