A League Match Report: Wasps lose thriller to Saracens

Wasps and Saracens played out a thrilling encounter at Maidenhead RFC on Monday night. A bumper bank holiday crowd were treated to a fantastic match that ended 42-36 to Saracens. 

(Photo Credit: Matthew Impey)

The visitors started the game strongly, but Wasps were the first to score, when center Brendan Macken intercepted on halfway and raced away to dot down. Under 18 fly-half Connor Eastgate added the conversion to put Wasps 7-0 up. 

Saracens didn't let the early try, against the run of play, put them out of their stride and they were soon back on the attack. Nick Tompkins provided the cutting edge and scampered through to put Saracens back on level terms, after Nils Mordt's conversion. 

The away team then put the pressure on Wasps and charged down an attempted clearance, before earning a penalty try at the resulting scrum.  

The topsy-turvy opening to the game continued, when on 17 minutes Josh Bassett answered back, by riding three tackles, to score a well-deserved try and level the scores at 14-14. 

The home side's hopes then took a hit, as prop Tom Bristow saw yellow for pulling down a driving maul close to his own line.

However Wasps not only didn't concede during this period, but took the lead thanks to a James Cannon try. A powerful run up the touchline by Bassett and one of many barnstorming breaks by Alex Rieder, set up the captain to crash over from close range. Eastgate added the conversion to make it 21-14 to Wasps. 

Saracens yet again levelled the scores with a second penalty try on 30 minutes. The visitors looked certain to go over from a scrum five meters out, before Wasps brought it down and the referee awarded a penalty try. 

Saracens threw everything at Wasps in the final few minutes of the half, but Wasps held strong with some fantastic defence till the break, leaving it at 21-21. 
 

(Photo Credit: Nicholas Flexman)

Saracens made a string of replacements at half time, to improve an already strong lineup. 

Like in the first half, Saracens started the better of the two teams after the break, and made it count when winger Nathan Earle took an inside pass from Mordt to fly over the line. 

The visitors then got the first two-score-lead of the match, as Titi Lamositele trundled over to score a try. Mordt added the conversion to make it 21-35.  

With Saracens in a strong position, the game took another twist, as Wasps showed great fighting spirit to come back again. Replacement prop Camilo Parilli-Ocampo powered his way over, to add to the try he scored last week against London Irish. 

With their tails up, Wasps drove a lineout from their own half, well into the Saracens 22 and got the reward for their endeavour, when Eastgate dived on a loose ball to score and make it 31-35 with 15 minutes left. 

With the game in the balance, Saracens showed great composure and created the opportunity for Tompkins to scoot in at the corner for his second try.

With the score at 31-42 and time running out, it looked as if Saracens had wrapped up the game, but once again back came Wasps, to create a grandstand finish. Scrum-half Jamie Stevenson sniped through a gap at the side of a ruck to make it 36-42. 

Mordt then had the chance to put Saracens up by nine points with a penalty, but he just pushed it wide and Wasps' hopes were renewed.

The home side tried everything they could to get the vital score. Eastgate put in an audacious cross-field kick in his own 22, that set replacement Ollie Brown free to run half-the-length of the pitch. But sadly there was to be no thrilling final climax, as Saracens held out the valiant Wasps to take home five points, while the home side got two bonus points in defeat.

After the game A League coach Matt Davies said: "Whilst this was another step forward in terms of performance, it is ultimately frustrating not to have converted our chances, after we put ourselves in a position to win the game at the end.

"We spoke about character and effort before the game, and that was hugely evident. The work-rate throughout was outstanding. We also played some really positive rugby, keeping the ball in hand, scoring six tries and there were strong performances, across a team that included 10 players aged between 17 and 20."   

Next up Wasps A take on Bristol United on Monday 4th January at Maidenhead RFC (19:30KO).

Wasps 

Tries: Brendan Macken, Josh Bassett, James Cannon, Camilo Parilli-Ocampo, Connor Eastgate, Jamie Stevenson
Conversions: Connor Eastgate 3/6 

Saracens 
Tries: Nick Tompkins x2, PENALTY x2, Nathan Earle, Titi Lamositele
Conversions: Nils Mordt 6/6