27th Jun, 2022

RUGBY UNION - Wasps suffer late collapse as London Irish draw all but ends play-off hopes

WASPS surrendered a 25-point second half lead as they drew 42-42 with London Irish to all but end their hopes of a top-four finish.

Lee Blackett’s side were on course for an impressive bonus point victory only to concede four tries in the final 13 minutes to slip to a frustrating draw at the Brentford Community Stadium

The result means Wasps sit ninth in the Gallagher Premiership table, eight point outside of the play-off places with just two league matches left to play.

And the visitors scored the game’s first try on 13 minutes when Jack Willis powered over from a driving maul with Jimmy Gopperth converting.

Irish responded with a try of their own on 17 minutes when Kyle Rowe ran in to score with Paddy Jackson adding the extras.

And the home side were soon in front when Tom Parton dove in unopposed on 24 minutes with Jackson again kicking the extras.

Wasps drew level on 29 minutes when Francois Hougaard crossed in the corner from Dan Robson’s superb pass with Gopperth impressively slotting the conversion from a difficult angle.

And Wasps were back in front on 34 minutes when Charlie Atkinson ran a superb line to collect Robson’s short pass with Gopperth again adding the extras before kicking a penalty to send the away side into the break with a 10-point lead.

Wasps looked home and hosed on 46 minutes when Hougaard crossed for their bonus point try from Malakai Fekitoa’s pass although Gopperth was unable to add the extras from the touchline.

And Wasps ran in their fifth try on 58 minutes when Josh Bassett fielded a clearing kick before breaking the line and setting up Zach Kibirige to score in the corner with Gopperth adding the conversion to put the visitors into a commanding 25-point lead.

However, the home side began a remarkable comeback on 67 minutes when Tom Pearson grounded in the corner from a powerful driving maul with Jackson crucially adding the extras.

And a stunning individual try from Henry Arundell on 72 minutes, converted by Jackson, reduced the deficit to 11 points as he collected his own chip and chase before bouncing off a tackle and dotting down.

Irish struck again through Ollie Hassell-Collins on 77 minutes as he finished off another flowing move in the left corner with Jackson’s conversion reducing Wasps lead to four points.

Replacement Jacob Umaga thought he had won the game for Wasps with a 79th minute penalty only for a penalty try with the clock in the red to hand Irish an unlikely point at the death with the game the highest scoring draw in Premiership history.

Wasps are next in action away at Edinburgh Rugby in the quarter-finals of the European Challenge Cup on Saturday, May 7 with kick-off at 12.30pm at Edinburgh Rugby Stadium.

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