ENGLAND hopeful Joe Simpson scored one of the tries of the season as Wasps beat Exeter Chiefs 36-29 to remain on course for a top six finish in the Premiership.
Wasps looked on-course for a comfortable win at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday afternoon after building up a 13-point lead with just 20 minutes remaining.
Exeter hit back to set up a tense finale but man of the match Simpson sealed the win with a memorable try which he ran in from 70 metres.
And Wasps director of rugby, Dai Young, was full of praise for Simpson, who he has already tipped to represent England at this year’s World Cup.
He said: “Apart from a fantastic solo try, I thought his game management was excellent.
“I thought he was always a threat with the ball, his kicking game was excellent and he tended to make the right decisions for most of the afternoon.
“Joe Simpson’s try was hugely important at that stage of the game because, to be quite honest, we’d lost the momentum and pretty much handed it back to Exeter and we certainly needed something there.
“Whether that was going to be three points, that’s what we were really hoping for at that stage, but Simmo’s got a real knack of pulling something out when you really need it.
“We know he’s capable of that, it’s not an isolated incident for him, it’s similar to many that he scores in broken play. There’s not many more attacking threats from nine than Simmo really.
“His try was probably the nail in Exeter’s coffin. I thought he was outstanding right through the game.”
Another win at the Ricoh means Wasps take another huge stride towards Champions Cup qualification and the result means they remain sixth in the table, two points ahead of Sale, with two games to play.
“Our next game is another huge game for us.” Young added. “Leicester will be a massive occasion and if we can knock that one over, then we’re certainly in with a shout for the play-offs.
“We’ve put a bit of breathing space between us and Sale, although the job isn’t done.
“The job isn’t done even for the top six but, we can nail that top six against Leicester. We know it will be a really tough one for us, Leicester are a very good side, but if we get the win there, going into the last game, who knows? We could pull off a top-four finish.”
“Both teams will realise how important that game is. It’s going to be a packed house, so it will be a great occasion and one that we’re all looking forward to.”