Wasps 27-16 Northampton: Morale-boosting Premiership win for Wasps
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 06/01/19 5:41pm
Wasps halted a tough run of form with a 27-16 win over Northampton in their Gallagher Premiership clash at the Ricoh Arena.
The hosts had won only one of their last 13 fixtures in all competitions but they deserved this morale-boosting victory by scoring three tries to one.
Josh Bassett, Juan De Jongh and Willie Le Roux scored their tries with Liam Sopoaga converting all three and kicking two penalties.
Dan Biggar kicked three penalties for Northampton and converted Fraser Dingwall's try.
Two early kicking errors from Wasps fly-half Sopoaga allowed Saints to have the better of the opening exchanges but they lacked the accuracy to take advantage.
The first 15 minutes were easily forgettable as neither side could bring any fluency to the contest, with both guilty of elementary and unforced errors.
There were frequent penalty awards and a succession of set-pieces and it came as a shock when Wasps suddenly produced a flowing move, which saw Le Roux haring for the try-line.
His long and speculative pass was knocked down by a defender but the hosts maintained their first period of pressure and good ball retention saw Le Roux send Bassett over for the opening score.
Sopoaga converted before Biggar kicked a penalty to leave his side trailing 7-3 at the end of the first quarter.
Moments later, Wasps scored their second try thanks to a splendid piece of opportunism from De Jongh when the centre followed up his well-judged kick ahead to nick the ball ahead of Saints full-back Ahsee Tuala and race away to score.
The game was now certainly alive as there came a third try in the space of eight minutes, this time from the visitors, when Cobus Reinach sent Dingwall clean through a porous Wasps defence.
Biggar converted and then kicked two penalties to Sopoaga's one to leave the hosts with a 17-16 lead at half-time.
Six minutes after the restart Wasps looked to have extended that advantage when Thomas Young raced free to touch down but, after numerous replays, the referee ruled that a tackle on Young had been completed and the score was ruled out.
Elliot Daly was off-target with a penalty attempt from inside his own half before Nathan Hughes was introduced as a 54th-minute replacement for Nizaam Carr.
Hughes was on just in time to see Le Roux score Wasps' third try after a couple of foolish decisions from the visitors had gifted the full-back his opportunity.
Sopoaga converted before kicking a penalty as Wasps maintained their second-half dominance to move back up to sixth in the Premiership table.