Tommy Taylor’s first Aviva Premiership Rugby try and a man-of-the-match performance for Wasps helped Dai Young’s men to a thrilling 25-20 victory over Exeter Chiefs.
It was Exeter who looked in control from the off, keeping Wasps at bay with Henry Slade’s boot and tries from Thomas Waldrom and Will Chudley.
But after Jimmy Gopperth’s superb first-half finish, Wasps’ outstanding scrum-half Dan Robson raced over and Taylor was on hand to finish off a driving-maul that effectively sealed the victory.
Rob Baxter’s men must now regroup ahead of Saracens’ visit to Sandy Park, while Wasps travel to Welford Road.
Waldrom was the top try-scorer in Aviva Premiership Rugby last season and after three minutes he was over the whitewash, picking and driving after a well-set driving maul had taken the Chiefs within a metre.
Slade knocked over the simple conversion and though Wasps came swiftly back into the game, it was the young England back who was next on the score-sheet, putting over a penalty after 15 minutes.
Gopperth pulled three points back for the hosts after Elliot Daly’s excellent work from the restart with nearly 20 minutes gone.
Guy Thompson’s break up the middle provided the impetus for Wasps’ first try, the flanker making good ground before Dan Robson’s wide ball found Gopperth.
The New Zealander used superb footwork and swerve to out-fox Olly Woodburn and go over in the corner, but the 33-year-old was unable to convert.
Wasps looked to have gained the upper-hand with that score, but a loose kick allowed Baxter’s men back into the contest.
Chudley and Sam Hill exchanged passes and the scrum-half showed brilliant pace to tear past the Wasps defence and over the line, with Slade converting again.
With 25 minutes remaining, slick hands from Danny Cipriani put Christian Wade into space and with just Slade to beat, the electric winger could well have gone around the outside, but he shifted inside and Robson was free to stride over for his side’s second try.
Chiefs had caused Wasps problems with their driving maul throughout last season’s four clashes, but it was Wasps here who used the maul to perfection here.
Taylor was the man to benefit, as Wasps powered over from a five-metre lineout and with Gopperth converting they moved into the lead for the first time.
Slade missed a crucial penalty with ten minutes remaining that would have edged Exeter back ahead before Gopperth completed a fine personal performance with a late penalty.
Aviva Premiership Rugby returns this weekend. For a full fixture list please click here