Wasps finish as Premiership Sevens runners-up
Date: 28 Jul 2018
Wasps battled hard but were eventually forced to concede their Premiership Sevens title to Saracens who claimed a 33-12 win in the 2018 final.
Wasps' squad was hit hard by injury during the course of the afternoon, but after grafting their way past hosts Northampton in the quarter-final and claiming a thrilling semi-final success over Newcastle, the challenge of the Premiership title holders proved a step too far.
Academy Manager Jon Pendlebury described himself as "hugely proud" of his team's efforts.
"Other than getting a win and taking a trophy home it couldn't have been much better for us.
"To only have nine players for the last two games was tough, but the spirit was outstanding. That's credit to all the staff and players; we're a tight group as was shown by how many were here watching even though they weren't involved.
"We've undergone a massive shift of approach to our academy in the last 15 months, and this weekend everyone involved was either a university contracted player or a senior academy member.
"They are all genuine Wasps, with no guests, and along with the time and effort out in by our coaches, this stands us in really good stead."
Final v. Saracens
Wasps started the final well, with plenty of possession, but once Sarries turned the ball over they released Joel Conlon to the line.
Sunni Jardine’s fifth try of the weekend – which also took him past 50 points – brought the scores level.
However, Saracens took a seven-point advantage into the interval thanks to Conlon’s second score, which was created and converted by Matt Gallagher.
The Allianz Park outfit soon added a third score through Tom Griffiths, then made the title secure with Rotini Segun’s fourth try, plus two further Gallagher conversions.
Miteli Vulikijapani’s score added icing on the cake, before the pacy Callum Sirker had the final word for Wasps, with Jardine adding the extras.
Wasps: Tim Cardall, Will Wilson, Taju Atta, Josh Nott, Sunni Jardine, Cameron Anderson, Callum Sirker, Replacements: Ben Christie, Colia Louis.
Semi-final v. Newcastle Falcons
Wasps reached a fourth consecutive Premiership Sevens final after a spine-tingling finale against Newcastle Falcons.
With the score tied at 24-all, Sunni Jardine’s nerveless touchline conversion edged Jon Pendlebury’s team 26-24 ahead with two minutes remaining, after which the young fly half applied the coup-de-grace by converting his own last-minute score.
Missing captain Owain James, Tom Stileman and Will Porter through injury, Wasps got the best possible start when Taju Atta outpaced everyone from 80 metres after recovering the opening kick off.
And Jardine’s conversion of Cameron Anderson’s try immediately increased this advantage to 14-points.
The Falcons then crashed Ben Stevenson over from 50 metres for a try which he also converted, only for Callum Sirker to claim his fifth try of the weekend at the other end – again converted by Jardine.
However, Newcastle went into the break all-square thanks to Joel Matavesi’s converted score - which was created by Zach Kibirge – and Glen Young’s touchdown which came immediately after the restart.
When Simon Uzokwe put the Falcons 24-19 up soon after the restart they seemed to have all the momentum.
But they counted without Jardine’s brilliant conversion of Anderson’s Atta-created score, then his solo finale.
Tim Cardall, Will Wilson, Taju Atta, Josh Nott, Sunni Jardine, Cameron Anderson, Callum Sirker, Replacements: Ben Christie, Colia Louis.
Quarter-final v. Northampton Saints
Wasps earlier progressed into the last four of the Premiership Sevens fthanks to a hard-fought 17-10 quarter-final win over Northampton Saints.
The hosts forced Wasps to battle every inch of the way after taking a first minute lead through Josh Gillespie after the visitors were penalised on the ground while running from deep.
Yesterday’s hat-trick hero Callum Sirker soon responded for the black-and-golds, finishing a move he also started and which Will Porter continued.
Sunni Jardine’s conversion edged Wasps ahead, but it only stayed that way thanks to Sirker’s brilliant cover tackle on Gillespie.
However, Saints did soon claim a second score through Ollie Sleightholme, who squeezed in the corner.
An awkward bounce then denied Sirker the chance to claim his second touchdown of the day, leaving the home side with a 10-7 interval advantage.
Wasps, who replaced Owain James and Porter with Taju Atta and Cameron Anderson, claimed the all-important fourth try of the match through Jardine’s excellent footwork.
And when the hosts lost Sleightholme to the sin bin for preventing a quick tap, Tim Cardall crossed for the match-clinching try in support of Jardine’s break.
Saints’ uphill task then became mountainous when Joe Wallace also saw yellow, which allowed Wasps to secure a final-four berth.
Wasps: Tim Cardall, Will Wilson, Tom Stileman, Will Porter, Sunni Jardine, Owain James, Callum Sirker, Replacements: Taju Atta, Cameron Anderson, Ben Christie, Colia Louis, Josh Nott.