October 27th, 2016

Wasps record first win away at Leicester Tigers in eight years

THE LONG wait for a first Wasps win away at Leicester Tigers came to an end on Saturday as Dai Young’s side maintained their 100 per cent winning start to the 2016/17 Aviva Premiership campaign thanks to a 34-22 win.

Wasps had not won at Welford Road since 2008 but tries from Christian Wade, Guy Thompson, Sam Jones and Jimmy Gopperth ensured that unwanted jinx came to an end.

It also means that Wasps have already beaten two of the league’s potential title contenders having opened their campaign with a victory over last season’s play-off finalists Exeter Chiefs.

“Wins at Welford Road don’t come round very often for any side, it’s such a tough place to get a result, so you’ve got to enjoy earning a win like that,” said Young.

“The good thing for us is that we’ve come here and won and it wasn’t a perfect performance, there’s still lots to improve on.

“In years gone by, we would have had to play out of our skin to get a win here. So we are really pleased with that and we’ve still got things to work on.

“You go into every game thinking they are important to win, but you look at these first few games and straight away you could see you could come out of the first three or four games in a positive mood, or you could come out of them feeling under pressure a little bit.

“You’ve got to play every team at some point, so you can’t worry about it too much. What it did do was focus our minds, because we knew we had to come out of the blocks fast.

We couldn’t take two or three games to get our game going. I’m just pleased to have got two good performances against two quality teams and that we can still get better really.”

Gopperth put Wasps into an early lead through a penalty in what were difficult wet conditions for both teams before the hosts got level through a penalty of their own by Freddie Burns.

A second Gopperth penalty put Wasps in front again and Wade slid over the line for the first try of the match to put Young’s side 13-3 in front.

But Leicester clawed themselves back into the game and cut the deficit to five points at half-time thanks to a try from number eight Lachlan McCaffrey.

An early try at the beginning of the second half by Thompson was followed by another with Jones crashing over and Gopperth landed both conversions to put the visitors 27-8 ahead.

Ed Slater crossed over for the hosts and Burns slotted home two further penalties just inside the Wasps half to cut the deficit to eight points and at this point the momentum was firmly with Leicester.

The hosts were boosted when Thompson was sin-binned for a no arms tackled with 17 minutes left and Burns scored the resultant penalty to make it 22-27 and set up a frantic finale.

But as Thompson re-joined, Leicester went down to 13 men after losing Ellis Genge and Peter Betham to yellow cards and after missing two penalty attempts, Gopperth finally put the game to bed with a late try and his conversion settled the score at 34-22.