London Irish 42-42 Wasps: Late penalty try earns Exiles draw after incredible comeback

·3-min read
 (PA)
(PA)

London Irish pulled off an incredible comeback to earn a 42-42 draw against Wasps in a thrilling encounter.

The Exiles had been 25 points down with just 13 minutes to go, but a last-gasp penalty try saw them draw level in dramatic circumstances.

Wasps looked to be on course to keep their slim Gallagher Premiership play-off hopes alive, but they rue their decision to take off a few leading players when they were in total control of the match.

However, Wasps took their unbeaten run to seven and still Irish have not beaten Wasps at home for the past nine years, but those facts will be of scant consolation to the visitors.

Francois Hougaard scored two tries, Jack Willis, Zach Kibirige and Charlie Atkinson the other scorers, with Jimmy Gopperth converting four and kicking two penalties. Jacob Umaga added a penalty.

Irish responded with tries from Kyle Rowe, Tom Parton, Henry Arundell, Ollie Hassell-Collins and Tom Pearson, with Paddy Jackson converting all five. There was also the crucial penalty-try award.

Two poor kicks from Atkinson and a mistake from Dan Robson gifted Irish an early platform but the visitors’ defence held firm against continuous pressure.

For 15 minutes, Wasps struggled to get a foothold in the match but from their first attack they opened the scoring.

They won a penalty on half-way and from the resulting line-out, Willis finished off an impressive forward drive.

Wasps’ lead lasted only three minutes as Irish produced a free-flowing move to score their opener. A deft off-load from Pearson saw Bernhard Van Rensburg make a strong burst down the right flank before the centre provided Rowe with the scoring pass.

After 26 minutes Irish took the lead when Hassell-Collins collected a superbly-judged cross-field kick from Van Rensburg to send Parton over.

The topsy-turvy nature of the game continued when the dominant Wasps scrum exerted pressure to create the opening for Robson’s excellent long pass to give Hougaard a walk-in.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Irish continued to struggle in the tight against a formidable Wasps pack and from another line-out drive, Robson was again alert by darting to the blindside for Atkinson to cross.

Gopperth converted and added a penalty so Wasps held a 24-14 lead at the end of a frenetic first half.

The first score of the second half was crucial and it went the way of Wasps as they went through numerous phases before Malakai Fekitoa sent Hougaard in for his second.

A sharp break from Fekitoa saw Robson dragged down narrowly short of the try-line but Wasps extended their lead to 18 points with a second penalty from Gopperth.

The situation got worse for Irish when Josh Bassett blasted through a huge hole in their defence for Kibirige to score their fifth before the home side staged their rally.

With 12 minutes remaining they still trailed by 25 points but converted tries from Pearson, Arundell and Hassell-Collins put them within striking distance.

A penalty from Umaga calmed Wasps’ nerved but referee, Craig Maxwell-Keys, awarded a penalty try after viewing the TMO, with Joe Launchbury picking up a yellow card for the collapse.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting