RUGBY UNION: A LAST gasp try from Josh Bassett helped Wasps reach the Aviva Premiership Final on Saturday evening following a dramatic semi-final clash against rivals Leicester Tigers.
Dai Young’s men will now travel to Twickenham this weekend to face Exeter Chiefs in the Grand Final after Chiefs defeated Saracens on home turf in the earlier kick-off.
Wasps were made to work overtime at the end of the 80 minutes though, with Bassett finishing the job in front of a record Aviva Premiership semi-final crowd of more than 29,000.
Five minutes from time, a collapsed scrum just outside the Leicester 22 gave Wasps a penalty – which was kicked into the left corner.
Though the line-out was lost, Leicester split possession as they tried to move the ball out of their own 22.
Wasps hurled themselves into another furious assault with a series of forward thrusts taking the ball up to the line.
The ball was eventually moved out to the left and enough defenders had been sucked in for Josh Bassett to squeeze in at the left corner.
Jimmy Gopperth’s conversion attempt went agonisingly wide, leaving Wasps with just over a minute to play down the clock.
They kept their nerve to take the ball through a series of phases around their 22, before Dan Robson thumped the ball into touch to take Wasps to Twickenham.
Prior to the dramatic conclusion, Wasps took an early lead in the game through Jimmy Gopperth who stroked the ball between the posts to give Wasps an ideal start.
Wasps then extended their lead eight minutes into the game after Freddie Burns kicked out just outside his 22.
A resulting line-out saw Wasps move play infield while the referee played advantage.
Quick hands sent the ball along the line and Kurtley Beale went over near the left corner. Jimmy Gopperth’s conversion stretched the lead to 10-0.
On 16 minutes, Leicester opened their account with a Freddie Burns penalty after Wasps offended at the breakdown on their 22.
Four minutes later, Tigers won another penalty just in from the left-hand touchline 40 metres out.
Burns was again on target with a superb kick to narrow the gap to 10-6.
Jimmy Gopperth’s second penalty from just outside the 22 took the lead to seven points.
With 13 minutes left in the first half, Leicester roarer back with a try following a long pass from Ben Youngs which sailed over Christian Wade’s head to give Peter Betham a clear run to the line near the left corner.
Burns then converted to level the scores.
With five minutes of the half remaining, a Wasps line out drive won a penalty just outside the 22.
His penalty hit the outside of the left post and bounced over the dead-ball line.
He made no mistake at a later penalty kick though as Wasps led by three points at 16-13.
Several minutes of intense pressure saw Wasps take the lead 13 minutes into the second half as Telusa Veainu went over for a try which Burns converted to put his side 20-16 ahead.
Waves of constant attacks from Wasps saw the home side come close to regaining the lead on several occasions – but Tigers’ defence remained strong.
Then, with minutes to go, Bassett scored the winning try to send the home fans into raptures.
Saturday’s final at Twickenham kicks off at 2.30pm.
Picture: Richard Lane.