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Samoan International, David Lemi is withdrawn after illness has ruled him out of the match 23. Danny Cipriani, who has completed his rehabilitation programme after a fractured fibula sustained against Northampton on the 4th October, is named in his place.
Limited tickets for London Wasps v Leicester Tigers at Adams Park remain. Supporters can book online HERE until midday Sunday and colect from Ticket Office 2 on the day.
Tickets wll be on sale at Adams Park on the day, due to the demand for this game and to avoid disappointment it is recommended supporters book in advance. .
Wasps scored two fine tries and had limited the visitors to five penalties from the boot of Toby Flood, before a last-minute converted try from Jordan Crane grabbed the bonus point which ensured that the visitors hold on to fourth place in the Premiership, one point ahead of Wasps.
Leicester posed the first serious attacking threat, in the third minute, when fullback Scott Hamilton came into the line and made 30 metres before finding Lewis Moody in support, near the Wasps 22. The Wasps defence managed to get back, but conceded a penalty, which Tigers kicked to the corner. Further pressure followed, before Wasps won a turnover and cleared deep into the Tigers 22. Paul Sackey rose to gather Hamilton’s clearance kick, and Tigers were penalised, just inside the Wasps half. Joe Simpson, whose performance earned him another MOTM Award, took a quick tap and made good ground before releasing Paul Sackey just outside the 22. He came infield, then went outside the defence to go over near the corner for a superb try.
Tigers responded with a Toby Flood penalty, two minutes later, after the Wasps defence was caught outside near its 22. They then close, after the lively Ben Youngs darted through a gap to find his way deep into the 22, but the movement ended with a knock on. Leicester continued to apply the pressure for several minutes, and were eventually rewarded with a penalty just inside the Wasps 22, and Flood landed a straightforward kick to put his side 6-5 ahead after 16 minutes of play.
The Leicester scrum then applied the pressure at a scrum around 10 metres inside their own half. They launched a shove which sent Wasps back before conceding an inevitable penalty, however Flood lost his footing in his run-up and sent his kick wide from 45 metres. The fly half had another chance, three minutes later, when Wasps were again penalised at scrum on almost the identical spot and this time he made no mistake to stretch the lead to 9-5.
Wasps were soon back within a point, when Walder landed a penalty from in front of the posts, just after he split the defence with a jinking break, but lost his footing as he tried to beat the final defender a few metres short of the line.
It was Leicester who made the next attack, when Flood gathered a loose ball near his ten metre line and accelerated through a gap before kicking ahead for Johne Murphy to chase - but the ball was too far ahead of him.
Having been under pressure for some time the Wasps pack responded well by turning a Leicester scrum through 90 degrees, to the delight of the home crowd. But the cheers turned to jeers when the referee penalised Wasps before they’d put the ball in to the next scrum.
Mark Van Gisbergen then did well under extreme pressure, when he gathered a rolling ball and evaded the oncoming attackers to clear well from his in-goal area. Wasps were immediately penalised, for entering the breakdown from the side, and Flood’s kick from near the touchline just crept over to restore the four point advantage with seven minutes left before the break.
Wasps were then gifted a good attacking position when Flood made a mess of a clearance from near his own line and Murphy gathered to run the ball into touch a few yards from the corner. Tigers knocked on at the lineout and Wasps made the most of the mistake as they won quick ball from the scrum and Walder’s beautiful half-break and pass sent Steve Kefu over between the posts to put his side back in front. Walder added the extra points, to make it 15-12. A minute later a quick dart by Simpson led to a penalty and Walder’s 45 metre kick stretched the lead to six points.
In the final minute of the half, Van Gisbergen kicked towards the corner and the Leicester defence scrambled the ball into touch, with Tom Varndell breathing down their necks. There was just time for the lineout, but Wasps knocked on and the whistle blew, to end an absorbing 40 minutes of rugby.
The second half began with another off-par kick from Flood, as the ball barely crossed halfway. A lightning burst from Simpson from another quick penalty posed the first attacking threat of the half, but Kefu was unable to hold a pass with an excellent position developing. A powerful burst by Dan Ward-Smith then set up another penalty chance for Walder, who was on target from 25 metres, just to the right of the posts to make it 21-12 nine minutes after the restart.
Two minutes later, Flood sent a long-range penalty just wide of the posts. A superb tackle and turnover by Ward-Smith gave Tom Varndell the chance to fly hack towards the Tigers line, but he couldn’t reach the ball before it went dead.
When Leicester found their way into the Wasps half, they created on overlap on the left, but Anthony Allen lost his footing as he tried to step inside Van Gisbergen and an excellent opportunity was lost.
Wasps then made their first substitutions of the afternoon, with Ben Jacobs and Dan Leo replacing Kefu and Richard Birkett.
After a series of phases by Leicester in which the Wasps defence sent them back 20 metres, Jacobs snatched a loose ball and kicked downfield. Pressure from the chasers forced a penalty, inside the Leicester 22 to the right of the posts, and Walder made no mistake to stretch the lead to 12 points as the game entered its final quarter.
Flood had an immediate chance to narrow the gap, with a penalty from near halfway, and his well struck kick made it 24-15. Two minutes later, he missed a much easier opportunity to bring his side right back into the game.
With less than ten minutes to go, a thunderous hit by Simon Shaw on Alesana Tuilagi turned over Leicester possession in midfield and some sevens-style handling set up another Wasps attack down the left.
Will Matthews replaced John Hart, with under two minutes left on the clock, as Leicester pressed for a score which would bring them a bonus point. After two reset five-metre scrums, they finally forced their way over for a Jordan Crane try, which Aaron Mauger converted with a drop kick, but there was not time for the restart and Wasps ended 24-22 victors in front a buzzing home crowd.
Wasps are back at Adams Park next Saturday, for the resumption of the Amlin Challenge Cup, when they take on pool leaders Bayonne. Be sure to join us for this festive clash - secure your seat online here or call 0844 225 2990.