Leicester Tigers A 31-20 Wasps A
Both sides sealed a four-try bonus point, but it was the hosts who came out on top, taking the full five-point haul in round three of the Aviva A League.
Despite a bold second-half fightback, Wasps eventually lost an entertaining A League clash 31-20 to Leicester at Welford Road.
The hosts led 14-5 at the break, before two excellent driving lineout scores, finished by TJ Harris, brought the visitors within two points with ten minutes remaining. However, Tigers then claimed the spoils with two further late scores, before a late George Thornton try ensured both sides finished with bonus points.
Wasps withstood a ferocious early onslaught from Tigers with some determined defence, which eventually forced a penalty. Full back Owain James’ break then fashioned a half-chance down the right wing for the visitors, only for a good tackle to halt winger Alex Goble at the corner flag.
However, the home side did soon take the lead through scrum half Ben White, who got on flanker Will Evans’ shoulder to scramble over. Tom Hardwick converted, but the visitors struck back almost immediately when their best sustained attack of the half ended with Jacob Umaga’s dummy run creating the space for his centre partner Will Millett to score.
Will Foster’s chip-and-chase then went close for Tigers, while Wasps’ left winger Guy Armitage twice caught the eye with powerful bursts. But the home side went into the interval with a nine-point advantage thanks to Hardwick’s conversion of a try from replacement No.9 Harry Simmons, after a searing break by full back Jordan Olowofela.
After a raft of half-time substitutions, Wasps missed an early opportunity to reduce their arrears when Connor Eastgate’s 50 metre penalty slid narrowly wide. However, his opposite number, Hardwick, made no mistake from 20 metres closer to the posts when the visitors’ front row was penalised.
Umaga’s neat grubber narrowly evaded James in the left corner before Tigers’ impressive full back Olowofela went very close to extending their lead with a diagonal burst to the corner.
As the game entered the final quarter with a comfortable home win looking likely, two quick Wasps tries turned it on its head. Both came from driving lineouts after Eastgate planted penalties to the corner, and were finished by recently arrived replacement hooker TJ Hooker.
A close-range pick-and-drive score from replacement lock Sam Bailey, again upgraded by Hardwick, eased home nerves heading into the final part of the game.
And a repeat performance, this time finished off by another recently-arrived forward, Ben Pointon, and superbly converted by Hardwick further extended the Tigers’ advantage.
However, Wasps had the last word and claimed an enterprising bonus point try through prop George Thornton who was on the end of a long pass after James and Umaga combined to take Wasps to the shadow of the home posts.
Wasps A to play Leicester Tigers A at Welford Road
15. Owain James (Wasps Academy)
14. Alex Goble (Nottingham RFC)
13. Will Millett (Nottingham RFC)
12. Jacob Umaga (Wasps Academy)
11. Guy Armitage (Wasps)
10. Connor Eastgate (Wasps Academy)
9. Will Porter - Co Capt (Wasps Academy)
1. Alex Lundberg (Wasps)
2. Gabriel Oghre (Wasps Academy)
3. David Langley (Wasps Academy)
4. Marcus Garratt (Wasps)
5. Tim Cardall (Nottingham RFC)
6. George Cox (Nottingham RFC)
7. Will Owen (Wasps Academy Guest)
8. Tom Willis - Co Capt (Wasps Academy)
16 TJ Harris (Wasps Academy)
17 George Thornton (Wasps Academy)
18 Will Stuart (Wasps Academy)
19 Cameron Gray (Coventry RFC)
20 James Seabrook (Wasps Academy)
21 Josh Nott (Nottingham RFC)
22 James Moreton (Broadstreet RFC)
23 Josh Grimes (Nottingham RFC)
Leicester Tigers A team
15. Jordan Olowofela
14. Will Foster
13. George Catchpole
12. Gareth Owen
11. Jonah Holmes
10 Tom Hardwick
9. Ben White
1. Kyle Traynor
2. Jake Kerr
3. Chris Baumann
4. Archie MacPherson
5. Sam Lewis
6. Tommy Reffell
7. Will Evans (c)
8. Fred Tuilagi
16. Harry Mahoney
17. Owen Hills
18. Ben Betts
19. Sam Bailey
20. Harrison King
21. Ben Pointon
22. Chris Davies
23. Harry Simmons
Leicester Tigers A:
Tries: White, Simmons, Bailey, Pointon
Conversions: Hardwick (4)
Tries: Millett, Harris (2), Thornton