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Match Reaction: Wasps 27-16 Northampton Saints

Match Reaction: Wasps 27-16 Northampton Saints

Joe Launchbury returned from a four-month injury lay-off to lead his Wasps side to a first win since the end of November.

Tries from Josh Bassett, Juan de Jongh and Willie le Roux helped them to a 27-16 triumph at the Ricoh.

Fraser Dingwall got a lovely first-half score for Saints to keep them in the game but they didn’t have a response in the second half, failing to notch a point on the board.

The victory moved Wasps up to sixth from eighth in the Gallagher Premiership Rugby table as the unpredictability continues, with Saints falling to ninth.


Although the return of Joe Launchbury stabilised the defence and Nathan Hughes came off the bench to help Wasps hold their lead, there was one forward who shone.

Thomas Young made eight carries, 14 tackles and won two turnovers, shutting down the Saints defence throughout.

The flanker stood out above the rest for his commitment, work rate and rugby nous, along with his speed in attack.


Wasps’ final try was a mysterious one, with the hosts capitalising on a series of errors from Saints.

Bassett intercepted a Tom Collins pass, popped to De Jongh who grubbered through, Cobus Reinach covered but instead of grounding in his in-goal area he offloaded.

The ball made its way to Taqele Naiyaravoro, whose offload was intercepted by Le Roux for an easy dot-down on the line, stretching their advantage.


De Jongh’s delicate touch created the best score of the game.

He dinked a grubber through and latched on to the end of it, snatching it from in front of Ahsee Tuala’s nose, before racing clear to touch down.


Wasps captain Joe Launchbury said: “I’m not the best spectator so it’s been a frustrating two months. We’ve probably lacked confidence a bit over the last few weeks and confidence in sport is quite a funny thing, sometimes it’s hard to get back.

“Today was always about the result rather than the performance so we’re delighted to get the win today and hopefully we can keep moving forward now. We know we’ve got a quality team, hopefully this will be a springboard for us now.”

Wasps’ Thomas Young said: “It’s massive for us. We’ve been going through a tough spell and we’ve worked hard as a group, when you’ve quality like Joe (Launchbury) coming back in it makes it a lot easier.

“We kept hold of the ball and stuck to our game plan. We got the points where we needed to, I suppose that was the difference.”

Northampton Saints director of rugby Chris Boyd said: “We both needed to win but it was a game of moments, unfortunately for us they won most of the moments.

“I think when Luther (Burrell) dropped the ball over the line with a minute to go that summed up our day really.

“I don’t think anyone would be content with ninth, that’s where we’ve dropped to in the league, it’s incredibly tight so for us to finish up after this little block across Christmas to be in ninth, we’re not happy.”


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