RUGBY UNION - Wasps end losing run with bonus point win against London Irish in Boxing Day classic - The Coventry Observer

RUGBY UNION - Wasps end losing run with bonus point win against London Irish in Boxing Day classic

Coventry Editorial 28th Dec, 2021   0

WASPS ended a run of six straight defeats with a bonus point 38-30 win against London Irish in a Boxing Day classic.


Hooker Dan Frost crossed twice for Lee Blackett’s side with Ali Crossdale and Alfie Barbeary also going over at the Coventry Building Society Arena.


Jimmy Gopperth kicked 18 points from the kicking tee to help the home side on their way to victory despite Jacob Umaga’s late red card for a shoulder charge.


Frost’s opposite number Agustin Creevy touched down twice for London Irish with Ollie Hassell-Collins, Tadgh McElroy and Ben White also scoring for the visitors.


The result lifts Wasps up to eighth in the Gallagher Premiership table and ends the Exiles seven-match unbeaten run in the process.


Paddy Jackson kicked Irish into the lead with an early penalty before Wasps hit back with the game’s opening try.


Crossdale ran a superb line to receive Umaga’s short ball before exchanging passes with Luke Mehson and sliding over the line on seven minutes with Gopperth superbly converting from the touchline.


And Wasps ran in their second try on 16 minutes when Frost chased his own kick following a ricochet before grounding the ball under pressure form an Exiles defender.


The tries kept on coming at the CBS Arena when the away side scored their first of the afternoon through Hassell-Collins on 21 minutes before a Gopperth penalty stretched Wasps lead to nine points.


And Wasps soon had their third try when Barbeary powered over from the short side following a lineout in the Irish 22 on the half hour mark.


However, two tries in the final eight minutes of the first half from Irish’s Argentina hooker Creevy sent Wasps into the break with a slender 25-18 advantage.


Blackett’s side scored their bonus point try on 46 minutes when Frost crossed for his sixth try in as many Premiership matches from a driving maul before Gopperth added the extras and kicked another penalty.


And Irish kept themselves in the contest when McElroy drove over from close range to secure a try bonus point for the visitors on 63 minutes only for Gopperth to add his fourth penalty shortly after.


Wasps had fly-half Umaga sent off on 76 minutes for a shoulder charge on try scorer Hassell-Collins and Irish made their advantage count when White crossed for a converted try on 78 minutes which marked the final score of the match.


Head Coach Blackett was thrilled to claim a much-needed victory and insists there is more to come from Wasps as the season progresses.


Blackett said: “I’m delighted with the result, there’s plenty of things we could work on as well but the positive thing is that we got five points – much needed.


“Our intensity since the Premiership Cup games has been off slightly and today was clear evidence that we’re moving back in the right direction, there’s more to come from us.


“We obviously made a couple of errors early on, we scrapped pretty well to keep them out and build a good lead, the most disappointing part is the last 10 minutes of the game.


“We’ve got some key guys coming back in training this week: Ryan Mills, Sam Spink, Charlie Atkinson, Paolo Odogwu, it’s a sign of intent that we’re getting back to where we can be.”


Wasps are scheduled to face Sale Sharks on New Year’s Day with kick-off at 2pm at the AJ Bell Stadium with Sale’s previous fixture postponed due to a Covid-19 outbreak within the Sharks’ squad and staff.

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