Wasps did their job with a 38-12 bonus-point win over London Irish but will still have to hit the road in the Aviva Premiership Rugby play-offs after Exeter Chiefs’ resounding 62-24 victory at Harlequins.
Dai Young’s men went into the contest at the Ricoh Arena two points behind second-placed Chiefs but it became evident early on that they would have to settle for third.
But that didn’t stop Wasps ending the regular Aviva Premiership season in style courtesy of tries from Thomas Young, Charles Piutau, Christian Wade, Dan Robson, Josh Bassett and Ashley Johnson.
Johnny Williams and Alex Lewington’s tries in either half had given Irish hope but Tom Coventry’s men were unable to give their fans something to cheer about, having gone into the match already confined to bottom place.
Harlequins-bound Ruaridh Jackson kicked Wasps into a second-minute lead when Irish infringed on the ground in front of their own posts.
However, the Exiles proceeded to hold their own through the remainder of the opening quarter through some strong scrummaging and determined work at the breakdown.
Nice breaks from centres Williams and Fergus Mulchrone failed to produce tries through a lack of precision and when the visitors were caught offside, a second Jackson penalty doubled Wasps’ lead.
Irish then worked a midfield peel from a driving lineout to excellent effect and Williams went under the posts for a try which Theo Brophy-Clews upgraded.
This sparked Wasps into life and they hit back with a similar score when flanker Young steered a lineout drive into the corner.
South African hooker Johnson enjoyed an excellent afternoon and his powerful 30-metre break set up the position from which quick hands sent Piutau to the corner.
Irish No.8 Ofisa Treviranus was yellow carded for a breakdown infringement in the build-up to the score and Wasps soon took advantage to grab a third score.
Good running lines and support eventually saw Elliot Daly’s slick take-and-give send Wade over for his 13th try of the season, meaning Wasps went into the break with a 14-point advantage.
A lengthy TMO interlude ended with a Wasps penalty following a scuffle between Matt Symons and Sam Jones, who had replaced the injured Young.
The crowd became restless as news of Exeter’s comfortable lead at Harlequins filtered through and a flurry of replacements made the match disjointed.
A multiple scrum reset and sequence of penalties against Wasps also did little to assist the game’s flow, but when the ball did finally emerge Irish chipped neatly over the top for winger Lewington to gather and score.
Wasps hit back immediately through replacement scrum half Robson, who ended a move his sharp break had begun, to leave the newly-arrived Jimmy Gopperth with an easy conversion.
With the bonus point now secured, another long-distance effort almost extended the hosts’ advantage. Young winger Bassett snaffled possession from under the Exiles’ noses and raced 75 metres to the line.
Luke Narraway’s deliberate offside saw him become the second Irish player to receive a yellow card and after Wasps put the resulting penalty into the corner, the outstanding Johnson applied the finishing touch to a well-executed lineout drive.