Gopperth holds nerve to sting Saints

Sun, 09 Apr 2017 17:17
Large jimmy goppeth wasps smile 800

PREMIERSHIP REPORT: Jimmy Gopperth held his nerve with the final kick of the game to hand Wasps a dramatic 32-30 victory over Northampton Saints to extend their unbeaten home league record to 17 matches.

Matt Mullan levelled the scores with a last-minute try before Gopperth landed the killer blow against 14 Saints men. Saints had led 18-13 at half-time after tries from Ben Foden, Alex Waller and George North with Elliot Daly replying for the hosts.

Quick-fire tries from Christian Wade and Joe Simpson put the hosts ahead but Ahsee Tuala secured a bonus point for Northampton before Teimana Harrison also crossed. But Jamie Gibson saw yellow late on and there was just enough time for Mullan to pop up for the home side.

It was frantic throughout, with Stephen Myler opening the scoring from the tee early on after as Wasps were penalised for offside. And the Saints extended their lead when Foden, playing on the wing, pounced to grab a stray Gopperth pass in midfield and dotted down in the corner.

Myler was unable to add the extras and the league leaders were right back in contention as England's Daly cut an excellent line in midfield to carve through the Saints defence. Nobody was able to catch the outside centre as he crossed and, with Gopperth adding the conversion, Wasps trailed 7-8.

The visitors were soon back into Wasps' 22 though and after a patient build up, the home side's defensive numbers were stretched and Waller dived over from short range.

Two Gopperth penalties brought the scores level at 13-13 and the Wasps flyhalf could have put his side ahead for the first time, only to see his kick come back off the post.

And Northampton made full use of their lifeline as George North made his way over the whitewash in the final moments of the half.

Wade lit up the Arena early in the second half with an exceptional individual score. Seemingly in a dead-end, the wing chipped the ball over the Saints defence before collecting. He went over almost uncontested and Gopperth added the extras to put the home side in front for the first time in the match at 20-18.

And Wasps' lightning fast start to the second half didn't end there as Simpson found space on the short side, despite the attentions of Louis Picamoles for Wasps' third try.

Saints weren't finished though as they were held up over the Wasps try-line soon after and from the resulting five-metre scrum, Tuala found space on the short side for the bonus point try.

Wasps' proud home record looked under serious threat as replacement Api Ratuniyarawa punched another hole in their defence and Harrison had Saints' fifth try.

The league leaders thought they were back level almost immediately as Kurtley Beale fed Willie le Roux but Joe Launchbury was penalised for obstruction by the TMO and the try ruled out.

But Wasps' record remained intact as Gibson was sent to the sin bin and Mullan burrowed his way over the line, with Gopperth adding the crucial conversion to seal the win.

Scorers:

For Wasps:
Tries: Daly, Wade, Simpson, Mullan
Cons: Gopperth 3
Pens: Gopperth 2

For Northampton Saints:
Tries: Foden, Waller, North, Tuala, Harrison
Con: Myler
Pen: Myler

Yellow card: Jamie Gibson (Northampton Saints, 80)

Teams:

Wasps: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Kurtley Beale , 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, , 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Guy Thompson, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Joe Launchbury (captain), 3 Phil Swainston, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Matt Mullan
Replacements: 16 Tom Cruse,17 Tom Bristow,18 Paul Doran Jones,19 Matt Symons,20 Nathan Hughes,21 Dan Robson,22 Danny Cipriani,23 Alapati Leiua

Northampton Saints: 15 Ahsee Tuala, 14 George North, 13 Nafi Tuitavake, 12 Harry Mallinder, 11 Ben Foden , 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Tom Wood (captain), 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 David Ribbans, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Mikey Haywood, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Api Ratuniyarawa, 20 Teimana Harrison, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 Luther Burrell, 23 Ken Pisi

Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant referees: Greg M Garner, Jack Makepeace
TMO: David Grashoff

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
PREMIERSHIP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Wasps 20 16 1 3 79
Exeter Chiefs 20 13 3 4 74
Saracens 20 15 1 4 72
Leicester Tigers 20 12 0 8 57
Bath 20 11 0 9 53
Northampton Saints 20 9 0 11 48
Harlequins 20 10 0 10 47
Gloucester 20 7 2 11 46
Newcastle Falcons 20 8 0 12 40
Sale Sharks 20 6 1 13 36
Worcester Warriors 20 5 2 13 31
Bristol 20 3 0 17 19