Thomas Young’s sensational hat-trick paved the way for a bonus-point triumph for Wasps over Saracens, which saw them top the Aviva Premiership Rugby pile and book a home semi-final berth.
The flanker went over twice in a first half where Wasps were well on top, with Ben Spencer’s break from the base of a maul keeping Sarries in touch at 16-10.
But a try for Christian Wade – who equalled the record for most tries scored in a 22-game Aviva Premiership Rugby season – was followed by another by Elliot Daly.
And despite Spencer’s consolation effort, Young made it an afternoon to remember with his third in the dying moments.
— Wasps (@WaspsRugby) May 6, 2017
In front of over 30,000 people at the Ricoh Arena, it was the hosts who made a fast start with Jake Cooper-Woolley, Willie Le Roux and Kurtley Beale all making big carries inside the opening few minutes.
And the deadlock was broken on 14 minutes after a mistake at the back from Chris Wyles saw him knock on Jimmy Gopperth’s 14th-minute grubber-kick.
Sarries were punished as an immediate scrum penalty against Titi Lamositele allowed Gopperth to slam the ball through the posts off the kicking tee.
However, with Wasps not committing enough bodies to the breakdown from kick-off, lightning-fast reactions from Spencer saw him snatch up the ball and burst through a gap for the opening try of the game.
Alex Lozowski made no mistake with the conversion in front of the posts, but Wasps hit back almost immediately with a wonderful team score.
— Wasps (@WaspsRugby) May 6, 2017
After some superb phase play in the build-up, Daly’s break allowed Danny Cipriani to thread the ball into the corner to leave Young an easy finish.
The Aviva Premiership Rugby champions began to see a bit more of the ball, and Lozowski fired off a warning shot with a drop-goal attempt that went left of the uprights on the half-hour mark.
Marcelo Bosch then put his side back ahead with a huge penalty from the left-hand side of the halfway line.
But Wasps’ backline soon put the ball through the hands once more, with Le Roux releasing Wade who was blocked off by Sean Maitland and the Sarries winger saw yellow as a result.
Gopperth’s penalty was once again straight through the posts, and Wasps looked to make their numerical advantage count before the interval.
Joe Simpson hit an inch-perfect grubber into the corner, and while Spencer was back, Le Roux’s hit dislodged the ball to win a five-metre scrum.
And that led to another score for Young in the corner to make it 16-10 at half-time, as Wasps went down the blindside and Le Roux provided the assist.
— Stuart Farmer (@Stu_Farmer) May 6, 2017
A massive early carry in the second half from Young set the tone for Wasps, but an equally impressive tackle from Michael Rhodes stopped Ashley Johnson in the corner.
Gopperth pulled a long-distance penalty attempt wide of the mark on 52 minutes, but Wade finally extended Wasps lead with a record-equalling try.
It was a fortunate score in truth; with a host of players chasing down a kick over the top, the ball ricocheted into Wade’s path, but the winger did the honours to equal Dominic Chapman’s 1998 record for the number of tries in a 22-game Aviva Premiership Rugby season.
Saracens persevered, but despite Spencer’s second try of the match after a 20-phase move, a quick turnover and sheer pace from Daly put the game to bed.
The England international and soon-to-be British & Irish Lion sprinted around the outside of Jamie George on the left flank to score a decisive try – Wasps’ fourth of the afternoon that secured the bonus-point that saw them go top.
And there was still time for Young to complete a sensational hat-trick on 78 minutes, as the flanker broke from the maul, beat the last defender and dove over in the corner to round off a memorable triumph in Coventry.
📸 It was quite a welcome for the players as they left the tunnel before kick-off 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/vMo9R9WWMB
— Saracens Rugby Club (@Saracens) May 6, 2017
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