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Jimmy Gopperth takes Leicester apart as Wasps win

Jimmy Gopperth scored 19 points as Wasps beat Leicester in their own backyard for the first time since 2008.

The centre scored a try and kicked 14 points as Wasps picked up a bonus point 34-22 win at Welford Road.

Wasps' other tries came from Christian Wade, Sam Jones and Guy Thompson, while Ed Slater and Lachlan McCaffrey replied for the Tigers who had fought back from 27-8 down to get within five points before Gopperth's late try.

Leicester pair Peter Betham and Ellis Genge were sin binned as was Wasps' Guy Thompson.

Leicester were boosted by the return of England prop Dan Cole and lock Mike Fitzgerald while Wasps, although without seven players, had flanker Thomas Young back after a four month injury lay-off and new signings lock Matt Symons and prop Marty Moor made their first starts.

But it was veteran centre Gopperth who had the biggest influence on the first half.

He had a hand in all Wasps' points as the visitors established a 13-8 half time lead, kicking eight points and carving out a try for winger Wade.

Leicester, who struggled to get their attacking game going, replied with a try from Lachlan McCaffrey and a penalty from Freddie Burns.

Two penalties by Gopperth to one from Burns put Wasps 6-3 ahead after 24 minutes but two minutes later Wasps silenced the big crowd with a try out of the blue.

It came as the Tigers were hammering down the right touchline but Wasps pinched the ball, and Gopperth scooted down the wing before putting a lovely weighted chip inside to give Wade an easy try.

Gopperth added the conversion and it looked as though Wasps might repeat their thrashing of Leicester at the Ricoh Arena in March, but the Tigers hit back five minutes later after McCaffrey chipped down the left wing for South Africa wing JP Pietersen.

W asps failed to deal with it and after Tigers stole the ball McCaffrey dummied to Pietersen before crashing over. Burns missed the conversion.

The second half was barely two minutes old when Wasps stretched their lead to 20-8 with a try from Guy Thompson and a conversion from Gopperth.

It came after Leicester centre Peter Betham failed to deal with a bouncing ball in his own 22 and, after Wasps pounced, Thompson surged through some poor tackles for an easy try.

And four minutes later flanker Sam Jones was awarded a try by the video referee after squeezing over from close range after a great counter by scrum half Joe Simpson. Gopperth converted to make it 27-8.

Three minutes later Leicester were back in thanks to a try from lock Slater after a crossfield kick to Pietersen. Burns missed the conversion but then slotted two long- range penalties before missing a third. Burns kicked one from close range in the 64th minute after Wasps had been reduced to 14 men following a yellow card for Thompson for a dangerous tackle on Betham.

Elliot Daly missed a 51-metre penalty for Wasps and Gopperth missed two easy ones, the second after Ellis Genge was sin binned for a dangerous tackle.

Gopperth then rounded things off by scoring Wasps' fourth try after Betham had been sin binned, the same player then kicked the conversion.


From Belfast Telegraph