Jimmy Gopperth bang on target as Wasps fight back to hold Gloucester
A calm head at the death saved the day for Wasps.
Jimmy Gopperth held his nerve to kick a last-gasp conversion and land a 25-25 draw for Wasps against Gloucester in the Aviva Premiership.
The match seemed to be swinging Gloucester’s way as they led 18-6 at half-time through tries from hooker Richard Hibbard and wing Charlie Sharples, with centre Billy Twelvetrees adding two penalties and a conversion.
Centre Gopperth booted two penalties during that period, but Wasps hit back to level via tries from scrum-half Dan Robson and flanker Thomas Young, Gopperth converting one.
Wing Henry Trinder’s try, converted by Twelvetrees, nudged Gloucester back ahead. But wing Christian Wade raced over for the crucial third try for Wasps which gave Gopperth his late conversion chance.
Wasps barely saw the Gloucester line during the opening quarter as the home side retained the majority of possession and were creative when the ball was spun wide. Twelvetrees kicked a seventh-minute penalty from 30 metres to open the scoring.
After refusing penalties out wide for attacking line-out situations, the tactic paid off when Gloucester rolled a maul five metres from the Wasps line for Hibbard to touch down under a pile of bodies.
The penalty count also mounted for the Cherry and Whites as they kept the pressure on the visitors, with Twelvetrees taking the total to 13 points without reply when landing a 25-metre effort.
Wasps woke up and some attacking phases inside the home half caused Gloucester to infringe and allowed Gopperth to boot two penalties within four minutes of each other.
A thundering run from near halfway from full-back Jason Woodward two minutes from the interval, though, helped take Gloucester to a 12-point advantage as the former Bristol back roared inside the 22 before offloading to the supporting Sharples to score.
The visitors came out fighting after the interval and would have scored when Young dashed to the line but a brilliant Mark Atkinson tackle stopped him as the ball squirted from the Wasps man’s hands in the act of scoring.
Gloucester had replacement Paddy McAllister sin-binned a minute after he came on for loose-head prop Josh Hohneck when referee Karl Dickson had enough of persistent scrum offences.
And wing Wade should have scored when fed a pass on the right with the line at his mercy, only to lose the ball as he tried to catch it.
But Wade made up for his error as he latched onto a loose ball, dashed deep into home territory and fed Robson for a try that Gopperth converted.
A thrilling few minutes saw Wasps level at 18-18 as Young touched down from a driving maul on the home line, before a sizzling run down the left from Trinder, plus a Twelvetrees conversion, opened a seven-point lead.
Wasps would not give up, however, as Wade went over in the last seconds. Gopperth needed to convert and, with the sun in his eyes from 30 metres out, he struck the kick sweetly to secure the draw.