Wasps A defeated after Tigers second-half comeback

Date: 17 Dec 2018

Leicester Tigers A fought back from a half-time deficit to defeat Wasps A 24-13 in the Premiership Rugby Shield on a chilly night at Welford Road.

Wasps led 13-7 at the break thanks to a Tom West try and two Jacob Umaga penalties while Leicester’s only score came from a converted Will Evans try.

Despite Joe Ford being in the sin-bin, Tigers took the lead after the interval with another converted score from skipper Evans before Ford returned to the fray to grab his side’s third try.

Wasps had their chances to turn it around but were ultimately punished as a Ford penalty stretched Leicester’s lead to 11 and Jon Pendlebury's men were unable to come back.

Wasps started the brighter of the two sides as skipper Gabriel Oghre made a stampede down the middle in the first minute before a Callum Sirker chip-and-chase had Tigers scampering back behind their own line under pressure.

Most of the opening exchanges took place in the home side’s half and Wasps looked dangerous with front-foot ball as the forwards carried powerfully, and they got their just rewards when loosehead West ploughed through a tackler to score after a barrage of pressure in the 22.

Umaga slotted the conversion and then fancied his chances with a penalty just inside his own half, only for the long-range effort to canon back off the crossbar.

Wasps should’ve made more of their early domination and they were duly punished when another Tigers scrum penalty allowed them to kick to the corner, and they then drove over the line with skipper Evans dotting down and Ford’s conversion making it all square.

The game then opened up as both sides looked to get their wide men into the game more as Leicester’s Kwaku Asiedu and Wasps’ Josh Grimes both made surging runs down the flanks only to be shoved into touch in the 22 with the tryline in sight.

Tigers’ pack got the upper hand for most of the first-half but when under pressure in their 22, it was the Wasps scrum who won the penalty which Umaga struck between the posts to edge his side ahead.

Wasps piled the pressure on in the hosts’ 22 before Ford was sin-binned for a cynical offside and Umaga’s second penalty made it 13-7.

Just before the break a sublime attack from Wasps saw Cameron Anderson flick an offload to Tim Stileman who exploited space down the left flank, and with Grimes set for an easy run at the line from the 22, the unfortunate full back went down injured, denying the visitors what looked a certain score.

With Wasps holding a six-point advantage at half-time and a man to the good, they found themselves behind as Tigers roared out the blocks in the second-half. Evans grounded off the back of another strong maul and Tom Hardwick’s conversion saw them edge ahead.

Soon after, the hosts were back to their full quota and they had their third try after some slick handling in the 22 allowed the returning Ford to go in and he stepped up to convert to make it 21-13 to Leicester.

Wasps rang the replacements to give some game time to more Academy youngsters but it was first-team back row Joe Atkinson who gave them cause for optimism with a storming break up to halfway before a kick in behind had Tigers under pressure. However, off the resulting lineout the ball was lost forward and another chance went by.

Missed chances proved costly for the young men in Black and Gold, as a penalty for the man not releasing in Wasps’ own half allowed Ford to slot a kick from 40 metres, opening up an 11-point advantage with 15 minutes to go.

Wasps threw everything at Tigers to try and turn the game around but the home side held firm to close out the win.

Wasps A | 15 Josh Grimes (Sharp 39), 14 Callum Sirker, 13 Cameron Anderson, 12 Will Simonds, 11 Tom Stileman (Atta 59), 10 Jacob Umaga, 9 Will Flinn (Nott 61); 1 Tom West (Onyeama-Christie 51), 2 Gabriel Oghre (c) (Barbeary 51), 3 Alex Hunt (Langley 15), 4 Josh Fenner (Rupf 55), 5 Tim Cardall, 6 Kieran Curran (Wilson 49), 7 James Seabrook, 8 Joe Atkinson

Replacements | 16 Alfie Barbeary, 17 Ben Onyeama-Christie, 18 David Langley, 19 Emil Rupf, 20 Will Wilson, 21 Josh Nott, 22 Jake Sharp, 23 Taju Atta

11m | West try 0-5
12m | Umaga con 0-7
20m | Evans try 5-7
21m | Ford con 7-7
34m | Umaga pen 7-10
39m | Umaga pen 7-13
45m | Evans try 12-13
46m | Hardwick con 14-13
51m | Ford try 19-13
52m | Ford con 21-13
66m | Ford pen 24-13