The battle for the last Champions Cup spot is far from over after London Irish pulled off a miraculous comeback to earn the highest scoring draw in Premiership history from a game they had all but lost. When Jimmy Gopperth converted the Wasps’ fifth touchdown 20 minutes into the second half, the Exiles were behind 39-14. In the last 13 minutes, the home side fought for a season-high sixth draw, scoring three tries and grabbing a stoppage-time penalty try.
- Wasps 42, London Irish 42.
- With a late comeback, the hosts overcome a 39-14 disadvantage.
Head Coach Wasps said:
“A draw is an odd outcome, but you would have bitten lads’ wrists off to take it with five minutes to go.” Neither team premiership benefits from this. Irish are still in the eighth position, one spot and one point behind Wasps, who have a game in hand but must complete the season on the road at Leicester.
First goal in premiership
After the Irish gave up a breakdown penalty, the Wasps built up a maul, which gained momentum with a second push. Gabriel Oghre emerged victorious from the quagmire with five points in premiership. When Tom Pearson did something that few of his teammates had done before, he offloaded in the tackle. Benhard Janse van Rensburg found space on the right side of the ball before floating it onto Kyle Rowe to finish.
Soon later, the Irish were in the lead. Nick Phipps shaping went right from the base of a scrum within his half at scrum-half but instead left. Paddy Jackson then chipped a brilliant kick behind Francois Hougaard. Leaving him with little choice but to watch the onrushing Ollie Hassell-Collins receive a nice bounce. The young Englishman dragged in the last tackler and set up the supporting Tom Parton with a superb assist.
Wasps had taken the lead they deserved, with Robson providing the decisive pass once again. A solid maul from a corner lineout carried the ball infield before stalling beneath the posts. Robson retained his calm and gave Charlie Atkinson a lovely poke off his shoulder.
Hougaard finished a simple play that dummies might have contested six minutes after the restart, and the victory appeared inevitable. The All-Black Malakai Fekitoa deserves credit for quickly straightening and pushing the ball wide. Still, London Irish seemed to have given up the battle. In preparation for their Challenge Cup match against Toulon next week.
The last minutes of the game
The last minutes of the game was the most enthralling. And when Jackson drew his team within a score by converting Hassell-Collins’ scything run along the left sideline, a dramatic comeback started to take shape.
Wasps extended their lead to seven points with a penalty kick from Jacob Umaga. But did not finish the Irish yet. They got within long reach of the try line thanks to a late rush. Two swiftly tapped penalty darts, and a lineout maul.
Wasps were penalized for stopping the charge unlawfully, resulting in a penalty try. The last word goes to a perplexed spectator near the press box who repeatedly cried “Lazarus.”