Wasps clinch victory over Tigers
November 25, 2012
Wasps claim valuable win over Tigers
Lee Thomas came off the bench at half-time to kick two penalties which secured Wasps a narrow 14-12 victory over Leicester.
Tom Varndell, the Aviva Premiership's leading tryscorer, struck with his eighth of the season against his former club after only three minutes, with fly-half Nick Robinson landing a first half penalty for Wasps.
Wasps were rewarded for their bold attacking approach as they maintained their unbeaten record in all competitions at Adams Park this season.
Fly-half George Ford replied with four penalties for the Tigers, who stay fifth in the table after going into the match needing an 11-point win to go top and depose leaders Harlequins.
Varndell finished a slick threequarter passing move by taking a pass from centre Elliot Daly and bursting through Mathew Tait's tackle to dive over in the left-hand corner.
Only a last-ditch tackle by winger Niall Morris denied Wasps' other winger Christian Wade - second in the Premiership try-scoring list - his sixth league try of the season. The 21-year-old hot prospect showed tremendous footwork, racing past six players on a brilliant run from the halfway line before being hauled down a metre from the line.
The early pressure paid off with Leicester conceding a penalty, kicked by Robinson who had failed to convert Varndell's try from the touchline. But it was cancelled out by Ford, who opened Leicester's account with a 40-metre penalty five minutes later.
Tom Varndell scored the only try of the match for Wasps © PA Photos
Leicester worked their way back into the match after the early onslaught but former England hooker George Chuter twice squandered attacking momentum by throwing long at the lineout and gifting Wasps possession.
Daly, the home side's long-range kicking option, attempted a penalty from five metres inside his own half. He made the distance but was just wide of the post. A scrum infringement by Tigers presented Wasps with a 40-metre penalty but Robinson's effort rebounded from the post.
After surviving another threatening run from Varndell, Leicester wasted another lineout when Louis Deacon knocked on after collecting Chuter's throw. But Ford cut the deficit to two points in the 34th minute when Ford landed his second penalty after Wasps were penalised for not rolling away from the tackle.
Three minutes later Ford missed the chance to kick Leicester ahead when his third penalty attempt drifted wide. Ford kicked Wasps into the lead three minutes into the second half following a Wasps scrum infringement.
Varndell crossed again in the 48th minute but was denied a second try when the final pass from fullback Hugo Southwell was ruled forward by the TMO following an excellent build-up by Robinson and Daly.
Thomas, a half-time replacement for Chris Bell in the centre, took over the kicking duties to land the 52nd minute penalty which put Wasps back in front after Leicester were caught offside 30 metres out.
Seven minutes later Thomas increased the lead with his second penalty from 40 metres but it was cancelled out within two minutes by Ford's fourth penalty, which reduced the gap to two points. Ford missed the chance to edge Leicester ahead eight minutes from time when his penalty from wide out of the left flew just wide of the near post.
At the other end, Thomas was wide for Wasps from a similar position but they kept Leicester out of their half in the closing minutes.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham
"These little deft touches, the nuances O'Driscoll has perfected are what Ireland will miss most." Tom Hamilton on Brian O'Driscoll's final Test in Dublin