Wasps rally to sting Tigers
Wasps recorded their first win of the season at Welford Road, beating previously unbeaten Leicester 28-19.
Last Updated: 27/09/08 12:56pm
Wasps finally got off and running in the Guinness Premiership, putting paid to Leicester's unbeaten start in the process, with a 28-19 win at Welford Road.
The reigning champions registered their first victory at the fourth time of asking, rallying from 13-6 down at half time to triumph on the road.
Once again they proved too much for the Tigers, the team they had beaten at Twickenham last year to claim the title in a fitting swansong for retiring captain Lawrence Dallaglio.
Wasps lacked any direction without their former skipper in a disappointing first half that saw the ball spend the majority of the time in the air, Leicester in particular peppering their opponents with high kicks.
Yet they showed just why they are the team to beat again this year with a rousing recovery sparked by Jeremy Staunton's boot.
The Irishman showed off his kicking skills with plenty of long bombs and two penalties, though it was his missed tackle that led to Leicester's try.
After half-an-hour of sterile stuff the hosts opted to run off the back of a scrum, Aaron Mauger charging through the Wasps number 10 before offloading for Johne Murphy to dive over the line.
Toby Flood added the conversion to go alongside his two earlier penalties, though he missed a third attempt from just inside his own half that would have made it 9-6.
The opening try finally lifted Wasps from their lethargic state and they finally looked capable of stinging their opposition when Josh Lewsey tip-toed his way down the left wing before putting in a dangerous grubber kick that Tom Varndell dealt with.
At least the away team had shown what was capable by keeping ball in hand, a policy they stuck by at the start of the second half that led to a penalty two minutes in that Staunton slotted over.
Although from the resulting restart they gave the three points straight back via a Flood penalty, the gap was down to a mere point with a pair of Staunton drop goals.
After 50 minutes on simmer the game was now at boiling point and it threatened to spill over when almost every player on the field became involved in a shoving match that had started with sub Julian White grappling with Mark Robinson on the ground.
It was Wasps who were eventually awarded the penalty and Staunton stepped up to put his team ahead from distance, though the lead didn't last long as a Riki Flutey indiscretion allowed Flood to fire over three points.
However, the scales tipped back in Wasps' favour courtesy of a fourth penalty and they crucially put some daylight between themselves and Leicester with a try, albeit in slightly controversial circumstances.
Replacement Damien Varley was adjudged to have put some part of the ball on the line when diving over a pile of bodies in front of the posts and the TMO could find no reason to disallow it, leaving an easy conversion.
The on-loan prop's effort was the first try the Tigers had conceded this season and sealed a superb result for Wasps, who will soon get a further boost with the return of Danny Cipriani from injury.