RUGBY UNION - Wasps take two bonus points from narrow Worcester defeat - The Coventry Observer

RUGBY UNION - Wasps take two bonus points from narrow Worcester defeat

WASPS were edged out 32-31 by Worcester Warriors after Jimmy Gopperth missed a tricky late conversion attempt to win the match at Sixways.


Gopperth failed to convert Tom Willis’s late try as Wasps fell one-point short of completing a memorable comeback with Lee Blackett’s side forced to settle for two bonus points.


Dan Frost touched down twice with Vaea Fifita and Sam Wolstenholme also crossing for tries as Wasps were once again made to pay for a slow start.


Worcester ran three first-half tries through Gareth Simpson, Duhan van der Merwe and Ted Hill before Will Chudley added the hosts bonus point try shortly after the interval.


The defeat means Wasps remain ninth in the Gallagher Premiership table having lost six of their nine Gallagher Premiership matches this season.


Despite having Melani Nanai sent to the sin bin in the opening minute of the game – Worcester scored their first try on three minutes through Simpson after a sublime break from van der Merwe with Fin Smith converting.


Blackett’s side drew level in the 16th minute when Fifita crossed underneath the sticks from Will Porter’s pass after Elliott Stooke’s break with Gopperth adding the extras.


And after Smith had edged Worcester back in front with a penalty – van der Merwe ran in the Warriors second try on 21 minutes from just outside his own 22 after Porter threw a loose pass with Smith converting well from the touchline.


The visitors responded just four minutes later when Frost ran a superb line to collect Gopperth’s short pass before breezing to the line with Gopperth converting to reduce Worcester’s lead to three points.


However, Smith kicked his second penalty on the half hour mark before Hill picked up Kyle Hatherell’s offload and sauntered over shortly before half-time to send Worcester into the break with an 11-point lead.


And the home side extended their advantage on 42 minutes when Chudley dove over to finish off a fine Worcester move with Smith’s conversion leaving Wasps on the brink of defeat.


Blackett’s men began the fightback when Frost scored his second try on 52 minutes when he burst through a gap at a ruck with Gopperth crucially unable to slot the conversion from out on the left.


Replacement Wolstenholme then made good on his chance when he scored Wasps bonus point try from Alfie Barbeary’s inside pass with Gopperth’s conversion bringing the visitors to within six points of Worcester with 16 minutes left to play.


And shortly after the hosts returned to a full complement of players after Graham Kitchener’s yellow card – Wasps would score their fifth try of the match.


Willis touched down in the corner on 76 minutes after Josh Bassett showed immense strength to hold off four Worcester defenders and keep the ball in play only for Gopperth to miss the difficult conversion attempt from out on the left touchline with Wasps one point behind.


Wasps were unable to score again in the remaining few minutes as they suffered their fifth successive defeat in all competitions but did at least come away with two losing bonus points.


Wasps are next in action against Munster on Sunday, December 12 when they begin their European Rugby Champions Cup campaign with kick-off at 3:15pm at the Coventry Building Society Arena.

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