Throwback Thursday: Leicester Tigers 22-34 Wasps
Round 15 of the Gallagher Premiership Rugby season is right around the corner and brings with it a clash of two of the league’s powerhouses.
Leicester Tigers and Wasps, two titans of the game with 16 winners trophies between them, will face off once more at Welford Road on Saturday.
The last of Leicester’s ten triumphant campaigns came back in 2013 while Wasps have not been crowned champions for over a decade – yet the rivalry is just fierce as it ever was between these two.
Both sides will need to bounce back from defeats last weekend if they are to improve on their league positions.
Leicester find themselves down in ninth ahead of the weekend round of fixtures with only Bristol Bears, Worcester Warriors and Newcastle Falcons below them in the table.
🥊 BOOM 🥊
👀 Line him up ✅
🚀 Human missile ✅
🏉 Strip the ball ✅
Job’s a good’un 👌 pic.twitter.com/RQT3RfE2LH
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) February 28, 2019
Meanwhile Dai Young’s side find themselves with five points between them and Gloucester Rugby in fourth and cannot afford to drop any more points if they want to push for the top-four.
It has all the ingredients of a Saturday afternoon cracker – and with that in mind, let’s take a look back at a previous encounter between the two that came up with the goods.
Leicester Tigers 22 Wasps 34, 2016
Wasps staved off a late fightback from Leicester to record their first win at Welford Road since September 2008 in this try-fest eight years later.
The game produced tries, sinbins and comebacks, and Wasps fans would have thought they’d run out comfortable winners after seeing their team take a 24-7 lead after 47 minutes thanks to tries from Christian Wade, Guy Thompson and Sam Jones.
It wasn’t over there though. Ed Slater added to Lachlan McCaffrey’s first-half try before Burns started knocking over the penalties to bring Leicester back to within touching distance with 15 minutes to play.
But it wasn’t to be for Leicester as they saw two players sent to the sinbin and Jimmy Gopperth seal the win for Wasps with a try in the dying embers of the match.
🕺 The #GallagherPrem boys are getting funky with their offloads 🕺
And many many more 🤗
🎉 Enjoy this week’s hits and skills 🎉 pic.twitter.com/PnDKtirRVR
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) February 27, 2019
Gopperth and Burns exchanged early penalties to get the scoreboard ticking over before the Wasps fly-half combined well with Wade to slice open the Leicester defence with just under 30 minutes on the clock.
But it didn’t take long for Leicester to force a reply as No.8 McCaffrey created and finished his own try.
Wasps came out strong in the second half too with Thompson powering over before Joe Simpson seared through the Tigers’ defence and it took a Matthew Tait cover tackle to stop him getting over himself.
Tait only served to delay matters though as Sam Jones barrelled through the Leicester defence for a converted try.
Burns then sprung into life, first chipping over Wasps’ defence and collecting, dancing through two tackles before kicking ahead again.
And with JP Pietersen haring in on it, the South African controlled superbly with his shins before collecting the bouncing ball and shifting for Slater to dive over.
Three subsequent penalties from the boot of Burns brought Leicester back to within touching distance and it could gave been even tighter but for a bad miss from the former Gloucester man.
But Wasps refused to be consumed by the Tigers fightback and after Ellis Genge and Peter Betham were both yellow carded, Gopperth sealed the historic win.