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Blackett on 'frustrated' Barbeary and how Wasps lost Jimmy Gopperth

By PA
Jimmy Gopperth of Wasps clears the ball upfield (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Lee Blackett believes it is only a matter of time before Alfie Barbeary is capped by England after the back-rower scored two tries for Wasps in their 41-24 victory over Bath days after being released by the national side.

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Barbeary, who came off the bench after five minutes when Brad Shields suffered a rib injury, also missed out on selection against Scotland but Wasps head coach Blackett predicted the 21-year old’s chance would come.

“I was really pleased with Alfie today,” said Blackett, whose side came from behind late on for the second week in a row to secure a bonus-point victory.

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“It is not easy for players to come back frustrated from an England camp in the middle of a week and rock right back in.

“It was why we picked him on the bench and while he came on earlier than anticipated, he put in a big performance.

“I know England are happy with what they have seen and if he keeps working hard his chance will come, whether in this camp or the next one, because he has the ability to play international rugby.”

Another of Blackett’s England hopefuls, wing Paolo Odogwu, also scored two tries to make it four in two weeks after his brace at Exeter.

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“Paolo has the X factor and there is a lot more to come from him,” said Blackett. “He knows what he has to work on and he is going in the right way.”

Blackett confirmed that centre Jimmy Gopperth, who turns 39 in June, will be joining Leicester in the summer after seven years at Wasps.

“I had a chat with Jimmy in December,” said Blackett.

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“He has been playing superbly, but we were unable to make a decision then because of the reduction in the salary cap and the fact he will be 39 next season. Leicester nipped in and he has signed for them but I know he will be giving his all for us in the next few months.”

For the second week in a row, Blackett was pleased with the outcome rather than the overall performance of his side who moved to within one point of a play-off position after their fourth successive league victory.

It was Bath’s 10th successive away league defeat, but even after the dismissal of Semesa Rokoduguni at the start of the second half for a high tackle on Sam Spink that left the centre concussed they were on top.

They led by seven points, but when Tom de Glanville was sent to the sin-bin with 13 minutes to go for a deliberate knock-on, they folded and conceded four tries.

“It was a great effort by the players,” said head coach Neal Hatley.

“The red card was a turning point but the sin-binning finished us off. I do not want to talk about Semesa’s sending off, but Tom left the referee with no choice because there were numbers outside him.

“There was a lot for us to take from the game and we have to pick ourselves up for Leicester next weekend.”

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