26th Jun, 2022

RUGBY UNION - Wasps lose at Saints as top-four hopes fade

WASPS play-off chances suffered a major blow after they were beaten 27-22 at Northampton Saints to leave Lee Blackett’s side 12 points outside of the Gallagher Premiership’s top-four.

Tries from Jacob Umaga, Paolo Odogwu and Will Porter proved in vain as Saints claimed a bonus point victory at Franklin’s Gardens to inflict a third successive defeat on Wasps.

And the result means Wasps sit ninth in the Premiership standings, needing to close a 12-point gap with just six matches left to play to secure a coveted play-off spot.

Wasps made an impressive start when Umaga crossed underneath the sticks after just five minutes from Tim Cardall’s offload with Jimmy Gopperth adding the extras despite Umaga appearing to fumble the ball when grounding.

And the visitors were soon 10 points ahead when Gopperth kicked a penalty only for Saints to hit back on 13 minutes when Alex Mitchell was quickest to react to a loose ball after it was stripped on the Wasps try line.

The home side completed the turnaround on 27 minutes when James Grayson finished off a nice move close to the sticks before converting his own try to edge Saints into a two-point lead at half time.

And things became worse for Wasps when Alex Waller added Northampton’s third try of the afternoon on 48 minutes with Grayson adding the extras to make it a seven-point game.

Wasps scored a crucial try to keep themselves in the contest on 63 minutes when replacement Will Porter made a lightning break before passing to Odogwu who fended off his man before finishing in the corner with the conversion attempt missed.

And Northampton scored a bonus point try on 73 minutes through Courtnall Skosan to take the game out of Wasps’ reach despite an apparent knock-on in the build up with the TMO stating there was not compelling evidence to overrule the on-field decision.

The visitors refused to lie down and hit back again when Porter touched down on 76 minutes from Umaga’s pass after a lovely step from Nizaam Carr with Umaga’s kick closing the gap to five points.

However, Blackett’s side were unable to score again as they were forced to settle for a losing bonus points after Grayson missed a pair of kicks which would have denied Wasps a point.

Wasps are next in action against Sale Sharks on Saturday, March 19 in the Premiership Rugby Cup with kick-off at 1pm at the AJ Bell Stadium.

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