13th Nov, 2018

High praise for hat-trick hero Jimmy Gopperth as Wasps beat Gloucester to move six points clear

RUGBY UNION: DAI Young reserved special praise for man-of-the-match Jimmy Gopperth as his 25 points tally helped Wasps move six points clear at the top of the Aviva Premiership thanks to a 35-22 home victory over Gloucester.

Gopperth scored a hat-trick of tries, while Willie Le Roux got in on the act by scoring on his home debut and Christian Wade crossed late on to secure a hard-earned bonus point victory at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday.

Another home win moves Wasps six points ahead of second-placed Exeter Chiefs with six games of the regular season remaining.

“I think Jimmy put in a great driving performance,” said Young. “We do practice those driving lineouts, like any team, and our forwards did really well, getting front-foot ball for our backs.

“Jimmy is pretty astute to know where the ball is and got his hands on it. He also finished in the corner really well for his first try.

“I think Willie (Willie Le Roux) had a great home debut, he showed some class touches around the pitch and we were all really pleased for him to get his first try on his home debut.

“Our new international signings are perhaps the icing on the cake, but we have a strong group of players who have been here for a few years now, who have gone through the hard times, moved the club on, and are hopefully now enjoying the club’s ambition and ability to attract some of the world class players we have in our squad.”

Gloucester put up a brave fight and did lead 10-8 four minutes before the break, but Wasps and Gopperth in particular proved too strong for their opponents and now prepare for a tough trip to Bath this Saturday.

“It was an important win,” Young continued. “Watching the match, I never thought we were going to lose the game, but I did think it would go down to the wire.

“We looked a little nervy, snapping at a few things, so perhaps the last couple of weeks have put us on edge a bit. Hopefully, this five-point win will settle us down a little and help us play with a smile on our face.

“We perhaps didn’t fire quite as well as we could have, but at the same time I felt we had a little bit too much for Gloucester and did lots of good stuff.

“The contest went all the way to the end, but I always had the confidence and belief in our squad to get over the line and get the result we wanted.”

The only downside for Wasps was an injury sustained by Kyle Eastmond, but it was too soon to be able to determine the extent of the injury.

Young added: “It looks like an Achilles injury at this stage. It was the Achilles/lower calf area he had the issue with, but we don’t know how bad it is at this moment in time.

“It doesn’t look great, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed, Kyle will need to have the relevant checks and scans before we know the full details.”

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