Wasps and their Boks sting Saints
PREMIERSHIP REPORT: Joe Launchbury lead his side to a much-needed 27-16 victory on his return from injury against Northampton Saints at the Ricoh Arena.
The hosts gained a lead through Josh Bassett and Springbok Juan De Jongh, before Fraser Dingwall put Saints back in the game.
Springbok fullback Willie Le Roux managed another for Wasps in confusing circumstances, which was enough to see them over the line and earn their first win in 13 first-team fixtures.
The deadlock was broken when a big drive up the middle from the forwards created space on the right for Le Roux to put Bassett in the corner for the opening score.
Lima Sopoaga added the extras before Dan Biggar pulled three back from the tee.
A moment of magic from De Jongh increased the hosts’ lead as he trickled a grubber through and plucked the ball from the air in front of Ahsee Tuala and raced in.
But Dingwall offered Saints the perfect response as he latched onto a delightfully-timed pop from Cobus Reinach to slice through and dive under the posts.
Biggar converted and, after an exchange of penalties, it was 17-16 at the break.
A bizarre incident led to Wasps increasing their lead when De Jongh intercepted in Saints’ 22 and kicked through, but the visitors covered well before choosing to offload on their own line, leading to another interception by Le Roux to fall over the whitewash.
Sopoaga converted and added another three from the tee to give Wasps an 11-point lead, which they held to the end despite Luther Burrell fumbling on the try line towards the end.
Tries: Bassett, De Jongh, Le Roux
Cons: Sopoaga 3
Pens: Sopoaga 2
For Northampton Saints:
Pens: Biggar 3
Wasps: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Josh Bassett, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Juan de Jongh, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Will Rowlands, 4 Joe Launchbury (captain), 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Tom Cruse, 1 Zurabi Zhvania.
Replacements: 16 Antonio Harris, 17 Ben Harris, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Kearnan Myall, 20 Nathan Hughes, 21 Craig Hampson, 22 Billy Searle, 23 Gaby Lovobalavu.
Northampton Saints: 15 Ahsee Tuala, 14 Tom Collins, 13 Fraser Dingwall, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Teimana Harrison, 7 Lewis Ludlam, 6 Tom Wood (captain), 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 David Ribbans, 3 Ehren Painter, 2 Reece Marshall, 1 Francois van Wyk.
Replacements: 16 James Fish, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Ben Franks, 19 Api Ratuniyarawa, 20 Heinrich Brüssow, 21 Alex Mitchell, 22 James Grayson, 23 Andrew Kellaway.
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant Referees: Andrew Jackson & Wayne Falla.
TMO: Geoff Warren.
A much-needed victory for @WaspsRugby 💪
It wasn’t easy, but they showed their grit and ground out the win over @SaintsRugby 🐯
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) January 6, 2019
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