Danny Cipriani’s second-half try helped Wasps gain revenge for their EDF semi-final defeat to Leicester – with their first ever league victory at Welford Road.
The 20-year-old reignited Wasps’ play-off hopes when he crossed with 12 minutes left for a stunning try, after Leicester had clawed their way back into their game.
Fraser Waters grabbed two early tries for the visitors only for the boot of Andy Goode and a Seru Rabeni try to leave the game hanging in the balance – before Cipriani, who scored twice against the Tigers last week, had the last word.
Leicester started on the front foot, and Goode kicked them ahead inside the first minute when Tim Payne was penalised for holding on in the tackle.
But Wasps were soon in the ascendancy, and on eight minutes Waters grabbed the first of his tries.
The Tigers lost a scrum against the head, and number eight Joe Hart fed the outside centre who ran home from 50 metres.David Walder converted and then had a big hand in Wasps’ second try on 12 minutes.
England winger Paul Sackey jinked past several tackles on the right wing, before the ball was worked out to Walder – who missed out three Wasps players to find Waters who dived over.
The former Newcastle fly-half converted. But the lead was reduced to eight points when Goode knocked over his second penalty following a 40 metre burst from Johne Murphy.
Sackey then demonstrated his skills in defence, holding up prop Mario Castrogiovanni on the try line as Leicester piled on the pressure.
Inside centre Riki Flutey was sent to the sin-bin on 30 minutes for being off his feet, and Goode’s short-range kick reduced the arrears to 14-9.
Despite being camped on Wasps’ try-line late in the first half, Leicester failed to cross – with Rabeni ignoring an overlap while Tom Varndell ran into his own man three metres out.
The Wasps defence was finally breached six minutes after the break as Rabeni took Goode’s ball and skipped past Walder and Simon Shaw’s feeble tackles to touch down.
Walder missed one chance with the boot but on 59 minutes made no mistake with a long-distance penalty to put Wasps one point ahead at 17-16.
Cipriani then gave his side a vital eight-point lead when he jinked through the Leicester defence from 20 metres out and added the conversion to make it 24-16 with 18 minutes to go.
Another Goode penalty ensured a frantic finish – and although Cipriani missed a long-range penalty to make the game safe, Wasps held on.