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Match Report: Wasps 36 Leicester Tigers 24 Match Report: Wasps 36 Leicester Tigers 24

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Match Report: Wasps 36 Leicester Tigers 24

12 Mar 2016
Match Report: Wasps 36 Leicester Tigers 24

Wasps returned to form with a showcase of scintillating rugby at the Ricoh Arena as they leapfrogged Leicester Tigers into third in the table with a bonus-point victory.

Charles Piutau crossed over early on for Wasps though Peter Betham’s intercept try pegged them back.

However, Christian Wade made up for his mistake for Betham’s try to surge over himself, and Piutau completed his try-double before the first half was out.

Frank Halai danced up the touchline soon after the break tor record Wasps’ bonus-point try and though Telusa Veainu’s effort gave Leicester hope, the hosts produced another classy score finished off by Nathan Hughes.

Niki Goneva scored a late try for Leicester but they ran out of time to snare the bonus points.

Just two points separated third-place Tigers from fourth-place Wasps in the table – it was all set up for a potential classic in the West Midlands.

Wasps had been tearing up Aviva Premiership Rugby before defeat to Gloucester Rugby last weekend – but on early evidence, that setback hadn’t affected them in the slightest.

First Piutau made a searing break and with the Tigers caught cold, they gave away a penalty which Jimmy Gopperth duly slotted.

A Gopperth chip to the corner then pegged Leicester back in their 22, and after a number of bruising Ashley Johnson carries, Piutau used brute force to pile over on the right.

That try seemed to jolt Leicester into life and when Adam Thompstone turned over the ball on halfway it was not long before Freddie Burns put his team on the board with a penalty.

After a sustained period of pressure, they then grabbed a try out of nowhere as an under-pressure Wade threw a pass straight into the hands of Betham.

Burns’ conversion drew Leicester level, but Wade made up for the intercept almost immediately as the diminutive wing plucked a Gopperth kick out of the air and crossed over.

No sooner had Gopperth converted Wasps were on the charge again, this time siblings combining as big brother Siale Piutau put through Charles for his second.

Gopperth was spot on with the extras again to put Wasps up 22-10 by the half-hour mark – though the game started to settle down somewhat.

Kiwi fly-half Gopperth missed a penalty but Leicester would have cut the deficit just before half-time, if not for Matt Smith’s forward pass before Thompstone dotted down.

But much like the first half, Wasps started the second with a bang as Wasps used the width of a cigarette paper up the left to round Leicester.

Johnson, the Piutau brothers and Halai all combined before the latter broke off into the middle of the field and finished a sublime try.

Now 19 points behind after another Gopperth conversion, the next score was crucial for Leicester – and it arrived via Veainu with his first touch of the ball.

Having replaced the injured Thompstone, Veainu squeezed over on the right-hand side after Wasps had been put under pressure with a catch and drive. Burns converted.

The match was surely over by the hour though when replacement prop Matt Mullan sucked in two defenders before delivering to a galloping Sam Jones.

And with Leicester on the backfoot, the ball was eventually recycled through Johnson, to George Smith, and then to Hughes who used every sinew to dot down over the line.

Alex Lozowski, on for the injured Gopperth, made the extras though shortly after there was a moment of concern for Smith – who was clapped off the field after landing awkwardly.

Wasps continued to threaten, Wade going close before being bounced into touch, but Leicester got some consolation when Goneva raced over in the left corner.

 

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