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Two late penalties from Kenny Logan and an injury time try from Austin Healey, made this a worthy season opener, but one which will leave Wasps ruing squandered opportunities, in a game they came into too late.
Leicester got off the mark early, Tim Stimpson slotting home a penalty within the first minute after Phil Greening strayed off-side.
Within two minutes, however, Kenny Logan had levelled the score with a penalty score of his own.
It wasn't long before the Tigers took control of the half. Dominating in defence and attack they took advantage of some nervous kicking from Matt Leek on his debut and with Austin Healey picking up where he left off last season, running the ball straight at the Black and Gold, it was the England scrum-half who touched down first.
On further examination though, the video replay showed that Healey did not have control of the ball as he drove over the try-line. The video ref - the bain of England's summer tour to South Africa - may have been more gratefully received at Loftus Road this afternoon.
The rest of the half was all Tigers, who reaped the rewards of poor line-outs from Greening and loose kicking, that merely encouraged the visitors to come forward.
It was only a matter of time before the Tigers scored again, this time making use of an overlap on the left, which Canadian, Winston Stanley exploited with nifty running to score.
Wasps had a couple of chances late on in the half, which were squandered, and along with another missed penalty from Logan, left the Black and Gold, 6-17 behind at half-time.
Wasps started the brighter in the second half, but soon lapsed back into the form of the first forty minutes, failing to win their own line-outs and allowing the Tigers to control the pace of the game.
Leicester opted for containment rather than points as the half progressed, and with sixty minutes played Melville's men suddenly woke up to the fact the season was underway and began to put some pressure on the Tigers. The result was a fantastic final twenty minutes rugby.
Logan kicked a penalty on 63, which was followed by a fantastic chip and run from Rob Henderson, who collected and handed on to Josh Lewsey with precision timing, to send the Sandhurst man flying past Lloyd to touch-down. Logan converted and Wasps were back in the match.
The final fifteen minutes were played at break-neck speed, as the Loftus Road crowd found their voice and drove their team on.
Wasps had come alive, and a kick through by Logan on the left looked to be on for Denney to score but Leicester put it into touch.
With a minute of normal time remaining, Leicester conceded a penalty just inside their own half and Logan stepped up to put Wasps in the lead for the first time in the game.
Moments later, the Champions gave away another penalty, just inside the Wasps half and Logan, his confidence returned, drove in long to give his side a five point lead with just injury time remaining.
But Leicester are a side who battle to the bitter end, and after some desperate defending from Wasps on the edge of the try-line, Man of the Match, Austin Healey broke through to touch-down under the posts.
Stimpson duly converted on the final whistle and Leicester had their second successive win at Loftus Road.
Ultimately however, two missed penalties from Logan would have seen Wasps take victory, although they can take some consolation in securing a point under the new system, for losing by less than seven.
LONDON WASPS : 22
Pens: Logan 5,
John Ufton, Josh Lewsey, Fraser Waters, Rob Henderson, Kenny Logan, Matt Leek, M Wood, Darren Molloy, Phil Greening, Will Green (c), Andy Reed, Simon Shaw, Joe Beardshaw, Paul Volley, Joe Worsley.
Reps: Friday, Denney, Roiser, Le Chavelier, Macer, Birkett, Lock
LEICESTER TIGERS : 24
Tries: Healey 2, Stanley
Cons: Stimpson 3
Jelley, West, Garforth, Johnson, Kay, Gustard, Back, Corry, Healey, Goode, Stanley, Howard, Lloyd, Murphy, Stimpson