Wasps clinch semi-final appearance through narrow Saints win

A 36-29 win over Northampton Saints clinched Wasps’ place in the Aviva Premiership semi-finals for a third consecutive season. 

 

 36 - 29 
WaspsNorthampton Saints

Sun 29th April 2018
3:00 pm

Ricoh Arena Stadium - Aviva Premiership

And Dai Young’s team also now know a win or draw at Newcastle next Saturday will send them to Saracens’ Allianz Park home in the last four, while defeat would set up a rematch with last season’s final opponents Exeter at Sandy Park.
Both sides claimed four tries while Jimmy Gopperth kicked 16 points for Wasps on a day when despite never being ahead on the scoreboard Northampton remained in contention until the final whistle.
First-half tries by Christian Wade and  Elliot Daly were matched by scores from Teimana Harrison and Api Ratuniyarawara to leave Dai Young’s men four points ahead at the break. Wade’s 96thtry in black-and-gold plus Juan de Jongh’s score then secured the bonus point and stretched the lead to 19 points, before Alex Mitchell and Ahsee Tuala went over in the space of four minutes, to set up a nervous finale.
Wasps went ahead in the fifth minute, when Wade darted through the narrowest of openings to go over in the corner after powerful bursts by Jack Willis and Simon McIntyre had taken the home side deep into the 22. Gopperth converted from the touchline.
Northampton responded after 11 minutes with a Harrison try created by Cobus Reinach following a scrum in Saints own 22. 


Stephen Myler converted, but Gopperth’s penalty soon put Wasps back in front following Joe Launchbury’s thunderous tackle on Luther Burrell just outside the Northampton 22. 
And two minutes later Wasps’ skipper won a lineout a few metres from the Saints line after which some slick passing allowed Willie Le Roux to send Daly over in the left corner.
Two penalties in quick succession then gave Northampton excellent attacking positions. Wasps stole the first lineout, but sustained pressure from the second ended with Ratuniyarawa forcing his way under the posts for a try which Myler converted to narrow the gap to a single point. 
The hosts replied through another Gopperth penalty, after which Cipriani launched an attack from deep inside the home half. He gathered his own delicate chip only for the move to end with Guy Thompson crossing the line but being unable to ground the ball. However, a penalty ensued which enabled Gopperth to take the score to 21-14 with the simplest of kicks. 
Myler pulled back three points for Saints on the stroke of halftime which arrived with the hosts 21-17 to the good.
Two minutes into the second half Luther Burrell was shown a yellow card for tripping Wade. The hosts soon made their numerical superiority count when Le Roux sent Wade over for his second try of  the afternoon - his 81st in the Premiership. This took him past Chris Ashton into third place in the all-time list, behind former team-mate Tom Varndell and Sale’s Mark Cueto.


Gopperth’s conversion took the score to 28-17, and the bonus point try soon followed, created by Guy Thompson’s quickly-tapped free kick and finished by de Jongh’s surge to the corner. With the home side pressing for a fifth try, Northampton stole a turnover and Reinach went racing clear. He had support on his inside but was brought down by Cipriani who showed a fine burst of speed to track him down.
But Saints did soon claim a third score courtesy of a storming Jamie Gibson break and neat finish from replacement Mitchell. 
James Grayson’s conversion narrowed the gap to nine points, and the visitors then secured their own bonus point and set up a tense finale when Tuala finished a flowing move.
Gopperth’s 72ndminute fourth penalty gave Wasps a seven-point cushion, and his side then appeared to have made the game safe, after James Haskell’s flamboyant flick between his legs enabled Josh Bassett to escape and kick ahead before outpacing the cover to touch down. However, the score was ruled out by the TMO for an earlier high tackle.
The resulting penalty gave Northampton a last chance to snatch a draw, but Wasps won a priceless turnover a few yards from their line to end a thrilling afternoon and bring down the curtain on another exciting season at The Ricoh Arena.

Wasps Line ups

  1. Simon McIntyre
  2. Tommy Taylor
  3. Jake Cooper-Woolley
  4. Joe Launchbury
  5. Will Rowlands
  6. Jack Willis
  7. Thomas Young
  8. Guy Thompson
  9. Dan Robson
  10. Danny Cipriani
  11. Elliot Daly
  12. Jimmy Gopperth
  13. Juan de Jongh
  14. Christian Wade
  15. Willie Le Roux
  16. Tom Cruse
  17. Matt Mullan
  18. Martin Moore
  19. Kearnan Myall
  20. James Haskell
  21. Joe Simpson
  22. Gabiriele Lovobalavu
  23. Josh Bassett

Northampton Saints Line ups

  1. Alex Waller
  2. Mike Haywood
  3. Paul Hill
  4. Api Ratuniyarawa
  5. James Craig
  6. Jamie Gibson
  7. Teimana Harrison
  8. Mitch Eadie
  9. Cobus Reinach
  10. Stephen Myler
  11. George North
  12. Piers Francis
  13. Luther Burrell
  14. Ben Foden
  15. Ahsee Tuala
  16. Charlie Clare
  17. Campese Ma'afu
  18. Ehren Painter
  19. Alexander Moon
  20. Lewis Ludlam
  21. Alex Mitchell
  22. James Grayson
  23. Tom Collins