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Jimmy Gopperth: Wasps win will prove vital at end of season

Published 06/02/2016

Andy Goode missed three kicks which could have given Newcastle victory over his old club Wasps
Andy Goode missed three kicks which could have given Newcastle victory over his old club Wasps

Captain Jimmy Gopperth believes Wasps' hard-fought victory over Newcastle will prove crucial come the end of the season, while he also backed his former club to avoid the drop.

Gopperth kicked all his side's points, including a match-winning 75th-minute penalty, as a lethargic Wasps battled back to claim a 9-8 win over Newcastle in atrocious conditions at the Ricoh Arena.

That denied relegation-battling Newcastle what would have been only their third victory of the season, but Gopperth - who spent four seasons at Kingston Park earlier in his career - was full of praise for his old club and believes they will stay up.

The 32-year-old also feels Saturday's scarcely-deserved triumph could end up being a major result for his current side, who are fifth in the Aviva Premiership standings.

Gopperth said: "It was really tough conditions, it was like being back at Kingston Park. They put us under a lot of pressure but we were ruthless and hung in there.

"We made it hard for ourselves but at the end of season, this will prove to be a vital four points."

He added of his old club's plight: " I believe Newcastle will stay up as obviously I still have a soft spot for them."

It was a third successive league win for Wasps but director of rugby Dai Young accepted it was an unsatisfactory performance from his side and admitted they were fortunate to come away with the triumph.

"It was a typical Wasps effort as we seem to have to win games three times over and then try and find four ways of throwing it away," he said.

"We squandered a couple of opportunities and the conditions made it a very tight game but those conditions don't suit us as we want to play with tempo.

"We have to be smarter than that, especially in the last few minutes, and we were lucky to come out on the right side.

"I thought with two minutes to go, it had an Andy Goode drop goal to win it on the cards but fortunately he wasn't able to spoil the party."

Second-bottom Newcastle were within five minutes of claiming an upset victory after a try from flanker Nili Latu and an Andy Goode penalty saw them leading 8-6.

However, former Wasps fly-half Goode crucially missed two penalties and a conversion in the match which, had he scored them, would have made Gopperth's decisive late kick academic.

Newcastle's assistant coach Dave Walder said: "Andy was unlucky as gusts of wind took the ball away from the posts.

"We are hugely disappointed as we were controlling the nothingness and Wasps were getting frustrated in that second half.

"We need to be more clinical but will learn from it, but getting a point out of the game was a positive as Wasps are one of the form teams of the Premiership and a few weeks ago, they put 50 points on Leinster."

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