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Match Report: Wasps 41-35 Leicester Tigers

16 Sep 2018
Match Report: Wasps 41-35 Leicester Tigers

Wasps fought back after falling behind to Leicester Tigers to emerge triumphant in an eight-try thriller at the Ricoh Arena after the visitors were reduced to 14 men.

Dia Young’s troops secured a dramatic 41-35 bonus-point victory in Coventry as Kiwi fly-half Lima Sopoaga kicked 18 points, including two late penalties, on his first start of the season.

The topsy-turvy encounter saw both sides take the lead at different points as Wasps raced into an early 14-0 lead through tries from Juan de Jongh and Josh Bassett.

Tigers hit back through Jonny May and Telusa Veainu, but they were reduced to 14 men just before half-time when Will Spencer was sent off for a high tackle as Wasps went in 25-18 ahead.

Despite the odds being stacked against them, a second May try and one for Sione Kalamafoni saw Leicester go ahead but de Jongh’s brace and Sopoaga’s boot got Wasps over the line.

The hosts probed the Tigers defence from the off but had to wait until the tenth minute before finding a way through after pouncing on a half-charged down kick.

Bassett exposed a gap in the Leicester backline and carried the ball forward, before Dan Robson took over and offloaded – in the midst of being tackled – to de Jongh who did the rest.

It was then Bassett’s turn to cross the whitewash after leaping highest to collect Elliot Daly’s brilliantly judged chip to touch down, with Sopoaga landing his second conversion.

Yet with the momentum seemingly in Wasps’ favour, the visitors struck back almost instantly when an inspired George Ford showed his class with a clever grubber through for May to score.

Wasps added a third try before 25 minutes when Nathan Hughes powered over following relentless pressure on the Leicester tryline, before Ford reduced the gap to 19-8 with a penalty.

Ford and Robson traded further penalties, but Veainu then struck again for Tigers. Ford sprinted into the 22 and put the Tonga international in under the posts.

The drama did not end there, though. Tigers lock Spencer was sent for an early bath on the cusp of half-time after being shown a red, allowing Daly to send Wasps into the break 25-18 ahead.

Ford converted an early penalty to give the visitors hope, which only increased after Hughes was sin-binned on 48 minutes, with Kalamafoni putting Tigers 28-25 ahead.

But Wasps were soon back on the attack and de Jongh profited from excellent play by Michael Le Bourgeois to step infield and score under the posts, with Sopoaga converting.

Not one to be outdone, May responded with his second try of the game, linking up with England international Ford again to secure Leicester’s fourth try – and the bonus point.

Ford came within a post width of extending the away side’s lead with a 45-metre penalty, before Sopoaga levelled the scores with his own shot at goal to make it 35 apiece.

The New Zealander was on target again from the tee with seven minutes left to edge Wasps ahead once again and sealed victory with another three points at the death.