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Wasps stun leaders Exeter in Sandy Park upset

The Chiefs tasted defeat at home in the Gallagher Premiership for the first time this season.

Wasps stunned Exeter at Sandy Park (Simon Galloway’PA)
Wasps stunned Exeter at Sandy Park (Simon Galloway’PA)

Wasps pulled off one of the shocks of the Gallagher Premiership season by beating leaders Exeter 26-19 in a bonus-point win at Sandy Park.

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Exeter looked well in control after building an early 12-0 lead but Wasps, inspired by number eight Nathan Hughes, hit back and ran out deserved winners as the Chiefs lost at home in the Premiership for the first time this season.

Willie Le Roux, Juan De Jongh, Marcus Watson and Zurabi Zhvania scored Wasps’ tries with Lima Sopoaga converting two and Elliot Daly one.

Exeter’s tries came from Jack Nowell, Nic White and Jack Yeandle with Joe Simmonds adding two conversions.

After a scrappy opening, Exeter took a seventh-minute lead when a well-judged kick ahead from Henry Slade was collected by Nowell to score.

Wasps soon suffered a further setback when hooker Tom Cruse limped off to be replaced by Ashley Johnson.

Both teams struggled to come to terms with the strong wind but the hosts made the better fist of it in the opening quarter of the match as Wasps made too many unforced errors.

Daly put in a couple of loose kicks before Le Roux knocked on to bring an end to a promising 50-metre move.

Chiefs lost March’s Premiership player of the month Santiago Cordero to injury but it did not prevent them extending their lead when White forced his way over from close range.

It was not until the 24th minute that Wasps finally sprang into life and, with their first real attack, they looked to have picked up their first points.

Gaby Lovobalavu evaded two defenders on halfway to send Le Roux away before the full-back fired out a long pass to Watson, who crossed only for the TMO to rule that he had put a foot in touch.

The visitors were not to be denied for long, however, as a superb pass from Daly sent Watson racing down the right flank before he put Le Roux over for a converted try.

Wasps were celebrating again three minutes later when a burst from Hughes set up a try for De Jongh, before a stunned Exeter conceded a third score just before the interval when a kick ahead from Hughes was seized upon by Watson.

That left the visitors holding a 21-12 lead at the break, and they looked to have moved further ahead 11 minutes after the restart but an apparent try for Hughes was ruled out because of a double movement.

Wasps continued to frustrate their opponents and the home crowd as their players frequently required medical attention resulting in continual disruption.

Then, with 19 minutes remaining, Wasps put the match all but beyond Exeter when they scored their bonus-point try. Hughes, Zhvania and Lovobalavu combined cleverly to set up Zhvania for the visitors’ fourth try of the afternoon.

Exeter rang the changes and it paid dividends when Yeandle forced his way over from close range, but stubborn defence from Wasps saw them hold on for their first-ever win at Sandy Park.

PA

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