RUGBY UNION: WASPS will play Leicester Tigers at home in a crunch Aviva Premiership semi-final after defeating Saracens by 20 points at the Ricoh Arena.
In front of a season best attendance of over 30,000 fans, Wasps were made to work hard in the early stages as visiting side Saracens kept them honest during the opening stages.
Wasps were then awarded a penalty in the 15th minute when the front rows went down during a scrum 35 metres out.
Jimmy Gopperth sent the ball between the posts to open the score.
The lead lasted only a minute though as Ben Spencer pounced on a loose ball at a breakdown on the 22 to race between the posts.
Alex Lozowski converted to make the score 7-3 to the visitors.
Before the restart, Wasps were forced into a substitution as Tommy Taylor was helped from the field with Ashley Johnson taking his place.
Two minutes later and Wasps were back in front following a superb pick-up by Kurtley Beale.
Danny Cipriani threaded a delicate chip behind the defence and it bounced perfectly for Thomas Young, who went over in the left corner for the first of his three tries.
Jimmy Gopperth’s conversion attempt went narrowly wide.
With ten minutes left before the break, a lengthy period of Saracens pressure and tenacious Wasps defence ended with Alex Lozowski’s 30-metre drop at goal sailing wide.
A minute later, Saracens won a penalty on halfway and Marcelo Bosch landed a monster kick to put the visitors 10-8 ahead.
Willie Le Roux then produced a superb offload after gathering a high kick to send Kurtley Beale away with space out on the right.
He fed Christian Wade who chipped ahead and was then taken out off the ball by Sean Maitland.
Maitland was shown a yellow card and Jimmy Gopperth’s 35-metre kick put Wasps back in front by 11-10.
Young then scored a second try shortly before the close of the first half when Willie Le Roux’s long pass found the 24-year-old.
It took Wasps 19 minutes to register their first points in the second half when a chip into the corner bounced off a Saracens leg – and Christian Wade gathered to earn his easiest try of the season,
Jimmy Gopperth’s conversion put Wasps 23-10 ahead.
A minute later, Wade pulled off a try-saving tackle when he took George Kruis head-on a few metres from the line.
Saracens kept the ball alive and forced their way over when Ben Spencer crossed for his second try.
Alex Lozowski missed the conversion leaving Wasps eight points ahead with 16 minutes left to play.
Nine minutes from time, the Ricoh Arena erupted as Wasps gathered a loose ball and Elliot Daly was sent racing clear down the left to secure the bonus point.
Another Gopperth conversion stretched the lead to 30-15 and Wasps were within sight of a home semi-final.
They set the seal on a memorable victory when Thomas Young stole round the blindside to complete a hat-trick and be named Man of the Match with a try in the right corner.
Jimmy Gopperth’s kick went wide, but Wasps played out the closing seconds and Danny Cipriani’s kick into row Z sparked ecstatic scenes of celebration.
Wasps will play Leicester Tigers at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday (May 20) at the Ricoh Arena, kick off at 5.15pm.