Wasps maintain fine home form with victory over Newcastle
Wasps maintained their remarkable home record but were not at their best in a 31-6 Aviva Premiership win over Newcastle at the Ricoh Arena.
It was the 14th triumph in succession at their Coventry ground with Wasps' last defeat there being back in December 2015 when Saracens were victorious.
Newcastle were the better side until the 17th minute, when Simon Hammersley's yellow card turned the game Wasps' way and ultimately proved crucial.
Hammersley's offence resulted in the concession of a penalty try which Jimmy Gopperth converted.
The outside half also scored two tries and Frank Halai one with Gopperth adding a penalty and three further conversions for a 21-point haul, while Mike Delany kicked two penalties for Newcastle.
The Falcons had the better of the opening 10 minutes as their opponents made a number of unforced errors, including the loss of their first line-out throw and their first scrum put-in.
Wasps' poor start was not helped by the loss of tight head prop Marty Moore, who was stretchered off with a neck injury following a scrum collapse.
The treatment to Moore caused a delay of 13 minutes and, when play resumed, Rob Miller made the first clear break of the game to win a penalty in the visitors' 22. Former Falcon Gopperth stepped up to give his side the lead.
The opening score sparked Wasps into life with a strong burst from Joe Launchbury putting the Newcastle defence on the back foot. A try looked a certainty until Hammersley deliberately knocked down a Kyle Eastmond pass.
After considerable consultation with the TMO, a penalty try was awarded and Hammersley yellow-carded.
Worse was to follow for the visitors when Halai won the race to a clever kick ahead from Elliot Daly to score with Gopperth's conversion giving his side a 17-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Hammersley returned from the sin-bin to make his side competitive again and the second quarter remained scoreless until seconds from the interval when Delany put Falcons on the scoreboard with a penalty.
The beginning of the second half was a repetition of the first with Newcastle dominating possession and territory.
Both wings, Marcus Watson and Sinoti Sinoti, were sharp in attack but the visitors could not break down a resolute Wasps defence and had to rely on a second Delany penalty for their next score.
With 26 minutes remaining, a lethargic home side made changes with Danny Cipriani and Dan Robson replacing Miller and Joe Simpson in an attempt to enliven their performance but it did not pay immediate dividends as the third quarter remained a turgid one.
Newcastle suffered a setback when Hammersley left the field with a knee injury before clever passes from Cipriani created two tries for Gopperth to give Wasps a bonus point and a flattering final scoreline.