Late brace of tries see Wasps through
EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS CUP MATCH REPORT: Late tries from forwards Jack Willis and Thomas Young punctuated a 24-8 victory for Wasps against Dragons at Rodney Parade.
FT 🐉 8 – 24 🐝
Wasps secure a fantastic bonus-point win! pic.twitter.com/4HpFiXEGVG
— Wasps Rugby (@WaspsRugby) December 12, 2020
Tom Cruse and Dan Robson put the visitors in charge at the break before Jonah Holmes touched down for arguably the try of the game, but the two late scores earned Wasps the bonus point victory.
After a cagey opening 15 minutes, a Wasps attack down the right-hand side brought reward. Jarred Rosser was sent to the sin bin for a no-arms tackle before the visitors capitalized on the penalty – and the one man advantage.
Cruse was the beneficiary of quick passing to scamper to the corner for the opening try of the afternoon, with Jimmy Gopperth unable to add the extra two points.
Despite being a man light, the Welsh side maintained possession and earned a pair of penalties. Sam Davies kicked the first through the posts, but missed the second as the host attempted to play out the 10 minutes down to 14.
However, as the sin bin timer hit zero, Wasps scored their second try of the evening. A long kick from Dragons was collected by Lima Sopoaga who contemplated returning a kick before breaking through the Dragons defense.
He offloaded to wing Josh Bassett who initially dummied inside before hitting the free-running Robson who strolled home, with Gopperth this time successful with the conversion.
Early in the second half, Soapaga was sent to the sin bin for a dangerous tackle on Josh Lewis and Dragons took full advantage.
Slick passing moved the ball quickly from the Welsh sides left to the right flank where Jamie Roberts offloaded – taking out three defenders – into the hands of Holmes who walked in for the score, Davies was unable to complete the conversion.
Another sin bin, this time for Dragons’ front row forward Aaron Jarvis, gave Wasps fresh impetus heading into the final 20 minutes of the contest, however this time the visiting English side were unable to take advantage of the extra man.
With ten minutes remaining, Wasps put the game to bed with ferocious driving maul from a line-out, with Willis punishing the Dragons defense to score. Moments later, Young added the bonus point try from the resulting phases of another line-out.
Wasps now await the challenge of Montpelier next weekend in Round 2, Dragons have a daunting trip to France to take on Bordeaux-Bégles.
Tries: Cruse, Robson, Willis, Young
Cons: Gopperth 2
Yellow Cards: L.Sopaga 42′, W.Rowlands 76′
For the Dragons
Yellow Cards: Jared Rosser (Dragons, 18)’, Aaron Jarvis (Dragons, 54), Lima Sopoaga (Wasps, 42), Will Rowlands (Wasps, 76)
Dragons: 15 Josh Lewis, 14 Jared Rosser, 13 Nick Tompkins, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Ashton Hewitt, 10 Sam Davies , 9 Rhodri Williams (captain), 8 Ollie Griffiths, 7 Harrison Keddie, 6 Aaron Wainwright, 5 Joe Maksymiw, 4 Ben Carter, 3 Lloyd Fairbrother, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Brok Harris.
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Joshua Reynolds, 18 Leon Brown, 19 Matthew Screech, 20 Taine Basham, 21 Tavis Knoyle, 22 Jack Dixon, 23 Jonah Holmes.
Wasps: 15 Lima Sopoaga, 14 Zach Kibirige, 13 Paulo Odogwu, 12 Jimmy Gopperth, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Charlie Atkinson, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Alfie Barbeary, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Jack Willis, 5 Will Rowlands, 4 Joe Launchbury (captain), 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Tom Cruse, 1 Tom West.
Replacements: 16 Gabriel Oghre, 17 Zurabi Zhvania, 18 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 19 Tim Cardall, 20 Ben Morris, 21 Will Porter, 22 Michael Le Bourgeois, 23 Matteo Minozzi.
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Dan Jones (Wales), Gwyn Morris (Wales)
TMO: Nigel Owens (Wales)