Tom Cruse seals late win for Wasps
The win moved Dai Young’s side into second place in the Aviva Premiership table.
Tom Cruse’s 76th minute charge-down try enabled Wasps to seal a nervy 24-16 home win over London Irish.
Wasps claimed three tries to the visitors’ two, but were pushed all the way by opponents who produced a spirited second-half display.
As a result, Dai Young’s team are unbeaten in their most recent four-match block of Premiership action, and have climbed above Newcastle and Saracens into second place with five rounds of regular season action remaining.
After Irish’s Greig Tonks was wide with a 40-metre penalty attempt, they also lost hooker David Paice to the sin-bin for an obstruction on Guy Thompson.
And the home side took full advantage of their temporary numerical superiority to drive Cruse over from a close-range line-out.
Danny Cipriani added the conversion, after which the visitors twice failed to convert field position into points.
The wet conditions were troubling both sides, and as a result home full-back Willie Le Roux was on the receiving end of an aerial bombardment which he dealt with flawlessly.
Tonks missed with another long-range penalty after the hosts were penalised for dissent, before Wasps worked Thomas Young clear but he was unable to connect with Christian Wade on his left shoulder.
Brendan Macken was then unable to recover his own charge-down a metre from the visitors’ line, which left the hosts with a seven-point interval advantage.
They doubled it nine minutes after the restart when Le Roux’s nice line released Wade. The winger was held by the visitors’ scramble defence a metre short, but scrum-half Dan Robson dived over for a try which Cipriani upgraded.
Irish got on the board late in the third quarter when replacement Tommy Bell returned a kick 40 metres into the home 22, where Wasps were penalised on the ground, leaving Bell with a simple penalty.
The Exiles’ James Marshall then exploited a turnover to break 50 metres from inside his own half and establish the field position from which the visitors eventually drove replacement hooker Dave Porecki over for a try.
Cipriani and Bell traded penalties – for offside and a breakdown infringement respectively – which left the hosts nervously defending a six-point advantage with 10 minutes remaining.
And this was reduced to a single point five minutes from time when Irish’s driving line-out powered Petrus Du Plessis over.
However, Cruse had the last word, which along with Cipriani’s conversion was enough to clinch the win.