Leeds applied the early pressure and set up an excellent opportunity in the fourth minute, after hooker Andy Titterell stole a long Wasps lineout throw, near their ten-metre line. Quick passing appeared to have set up an overlap on the right, but Henry Paul chose to kick ahead and his chip went straight into touch.
It wasn’t until the 13th minute that Wasps found themselves in possession inside the Leeds half, after Warren Fury took a quick penalty a few metres inside his own half but Ben Broster was unable to hold on to his pass.
Mark Van Gisbergen then showed great initiative, as a long Ceirion Thomas kick rolled into the Wasps in-goal area. It stopped a few metres short of the dead-ball line, but the fullback lay down and touched the ball down, with his feet behind the line and Wasps were awarded a scrum, back in the Leeds half.
With 16 minutes gone, Thomas gave Leeds the lead, after Seru Rabeni’s crunching tackle on Dan Leo set up a penalty on the Wasps ten-metre line.
Wasps responded with their first sustained attack of the afternoon, after Van Gisbergen’s long kick was not gathered cleanly just outside the home 22. Dan Ward-Smith followed up well, to gather and make ground, the ball was moved right and then left but possession was lost just short of the line.
Thomas added a second penalty on 25 minutes, after Wasps had been caught out by a bouncing ball. Wasps responded with a magnificent try, set up by David Lemi. The left winger gathered a kick near the right touchline, just inside his 22 and beat a series of defenders before finding Danny Cipriani in support, ten metres inside the Leeds half. He burst through an attempted tackle and raced 35 metres for a superb score, which he then converted to put his side ahead with 28 minutes gone.
They had half a chance of a second try, after Dan Leo burst out of a ruck, a few metres inside the Leeds half. With no defenders in front of him, he fed to Warren Fury, but the scrumhalf could not gather his low pass.
Leeds went back in front with two penalties in the last two minutes of the half. After Ben Broster was shown a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on on the Wasps 22. Thomas landed the penalty, to make it 9-7 and was then on target from 50 metres to make the halftime score 12-7.
Wasps made a change at the start of the second half, with Rob Webber replacing Joe Ward. They had an early opportunity to narrow the gap, but Titterell did well to charge down Cipriani’s drop at goal. Despite their one-man disadvantage, they kept up the pressure, and were rewarded with a penalty five minutes after the break which Cipriani landed making the score 12-10 to the home side.
With Bob Baker on for Ben Broster after his ten minutes in the bin had expired, Leeds pressed strongly and one rumbling attack begun by Thomas, and continued by Henry Paul and Hendre Fourie, saw them cross the line. But Erik Lund was unable to ground the ball.
Another powerful forward drive tested the Wasps defence, before a welcome penalty gave them the chance to clear to the 22.
That respite was brief, as they immediately conceded a penalty near their ten-metre line and Thomas made it five out five with 55 minutes gone restoring his side’s five-point lead. Five minutes later, Wasps were penalised at scrum just outside their 22, and Thomas’s sixth successful kick gave Leeds an eight-points cushion at 18-10.
At the restart, James Honeyben replaced Warren Fury. Cipriani then had a long penalty attempt, which was narrowly off target, from just inside the Leeds half. Bob Baker made way for Gabriel Bocca, in the Wasps front row, and an offside on the 22 gave Thomas one of his easiest kick at goal, but he pulled it to the left of the posts.
Further Wasps substutions brought Dave Walder and Dominic Waldouck on for Mark Van Gisbergen and Ben Jacobs, with twelve minutes to go. Two minutes later, Fourie burst off a ruck to race 20 metres for a try which put Leeds within touching distance of their first home win of the season. Thomas’s conversion attempt went wide, leaving the score at 23-10, with eight minutes to play.
The game was sealed beyond doubt when substitute Joe Ford landed an easy penalty two minutes from time. With Wasps pressing for a consolation score, Seru Rabeni was shown a yellow card but the visitors conceded another penalty and Leeds secured a historic double, to go level on points with Sale, and boost their chances of Premiership survival.
Wasps are back at Adams Park next Sunday, to take on in-form Gloucester so your home support will be vital! To book tickets call 0844 225 2990.