Elliot Daly’s stunning showing failed to bring a victory for Wasps whose hopes of a top-four Aviva Premiership Rugby finish were hit by a pulsating draw at Newcastle Falcons.
Daly was the architect of much of Wasps’ best play, highlighted brilliantly by his assist and try in the space of two first-half minutes which turned the game in his side’s favour.
But the Falcons, who had won just once in their last six Aviva Premiership Rugby games, fought back and could have won it themselves after Juan Socino’s second-half score.
But Dai Young’s Wasps are desperate for points at the top end of the table, and Guy Thompson’s late try and Andy Goode’s conversion ensured the spoils were shared 23-23 at Kingston Park.
The Falcons welcomed back forwards Kieran Brookes and Josh Furno from Six Nations duty and it appeared to have the desired effect early on.
The hosts were ahead after just four minutes after some impressive work from Sinoti Sinoti. His break opened up space in the Wasps defence, and a brilliant Adam Powell pass found Alex Tait free in the left corner to dot down.
Tom Catterick missed conversion, but he quickly made amends with an eighth-minute penalty to make it 8-0.
Goode responded with a penalty of his own for Wasps after 21 minutes, and a dazzling 101 seconds of magic from Daly turned the game in the visitors’ favour.
Firstly the impressive centre opened up space in the Falcons defence for full-back Rob Miller to crash over on 29 minutes.
Goode found the windy conditions at Kingston Park too tough with his conversion but Daly’s low centre of gravity left Catterick in the dust from the restart.
Daly outpaced the Falcons fly-half on the left touchline with his blistering acceleration and within the blink of an eye Wasps’ deficit had become a 13-8 lead.
Catterick added a penalty for Newcastle just before the break, and just after Furno notched another Falcons try – making the most of the extra man with Carlo Festuccia down injured.
Catterick this time missed the penalty but they were back in front at 16-13 – that was until Goode added a three-pointer for Wasps to bring the sides level.
They were to remain level, but not for the want of trying from both sides. Firstly, Newcastle thought they had stolen victory when Socino crossed with just 17 minutes to play.
Catterick’s conversion left Wasps seven points adrift and on the verge of their first defeat in three games between the sides.
But just three minutes later replacement Thompson scored. Again it was Daly who created the opening, and the back row duly crashed under the posts for Goode to add the two points and ensure a draw which lifted the Falcons up to tenth and left Wasps in fourth – three points above Exeter Chiefs.
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