Worcester heartbreak as Wasps sneak win
March 21, 2014
Joe Simpson is tackled by Josh Drauniniu
© Getty Images
A close-range try from Jake Cooper-Woolley in the last play of the match gave London Wasps a win they barely deserved and left Worcester Warriors stunned and now almost certain to be relegated from the Premiership.
For most of the match Wasps were second best, and Sam Betty's 53rd-minute try appeared to have sealed Worcester their first win since March 1, 2013. But with three minutes left Wasps broke into their 22 for only the second time in the half and there they remained. Desperate defence seemed to have saved Worcester but with seven second remaining the last scrum took place and after several lunges for the line were held up Cooper-Woolley piled over to tie the scores.
Andy Goode, who started his career at Worcester, slotted the kick and turned with no hint of celebration. Behind him the Worcester players sunk to their knees knowing their tenuous grip on the Premiership had slipped away. Mathematically they are not dead and buried, but given the fixtures that await them it is as good as over.
The game was entertaining given what was at stake but it lacked quality and was punctuated by sloppy and error-strewn play. There was little of note in the first-half. A Chris Pennell long-distance penalty early on gave Worcester the lead but that was cancelled out by Goode just before the half-hour mark.
Goode then gave Wasps the lead shortly after the break before David Lemi offered a rare moment to remember when his neat footwork took him round the Wasps defence, Batty finishing things off when Lemi was tackled two yards from the line. Lemi, criticised as being too old earlier in the week by Newcastle coach Dean Richards, did not have much time to savour his effort as he limped off minutes later.
Ryan Lamb, who had already missed some long-range kicks, pulled the conversion wide, a crucial miss given what happened at the end. He did land another penalty 18 minutes from time to give Warriors an 11-6 lead and that appeared to be enough as Wasps failed to find any rhythm or cutting edge.
With the home crowd urging them on, Worcester were finishing stronger but then Chris Bell broke the line and suddenly Wasps pummelled the tiring but determined Worcester defence. As the clock went red, three surges for the line were held up before Cooper-Woolley went over.
"They deserved the win," admitted James Haskell. "We were pretty awful in parts." Few would disagree with that.
Tom Lindsay is tackled by Worcester's Jonny Arr © Getty Images
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Managing Editor, ESPN EMEA Digital Media
From Burgess to Boudjellal, Haskell to Honey Badgers and retirees to Retallick, here's the Quotes of 2014
It was another bumper year of rugby action in 2014; join us as we take a look back at some of the season's top statistics
Salary caps, Saints, sinners and scrums - Monday Maul looks back at the key talking points from an eventful weekend