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'He was gone, gasping, struggling... but he found something more'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)

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Wasps boss Lee Blackett has paid tribute to the inspiring last-ditch tackle put in by tired prop Biyi Alo when Leicester sought to pull last Sunday’s Gallagher Premiership match at Coventry out of the fire in the last minute. The hosts were clinging on to a 16-13 lead when the league leaders attacked down the left and appeared poised to nab a result-stealing try – just as they had done on Boxing Day at Bristol.  

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Ollie Chessum sprinted towards the Wasps 22 on taking an inside pass from George Ford and he had Nic Dolly in support outside him as he drew the cover but before he could exploit the space and get a pass away, he was mowed down by the vigilant tighthead Alo who managed to get across from the ruck he had been previously monitoring.  

Alo had come into the match as a half-time replacement for Jeff Toomaga-Allen and it proved to be an energy-sapping second-half battle against a Leicester team that had won all 15 of its previous matches this season in all competitions. 

They could well have clinched a 16th successive win had it not been for Alo somehow finding the energy to make his try-saving tackle, defiance that left his coach Blackett mightily impressed when speaking to media ahead of this weekend’s Heineken Champions Cup tie versus Toulouse. 

“He has come off the back of a couple of kick chases. Just before that, he has come off the back of a scrum, all those scrums in that corner have taken a lot of toll (on him).

“He was gone, he was gasping, he was struggling but you know what, when he needed to go for the team he found something more and that was the pleasing thing. He was struggling but he has found an extra level for the team and that is what we show, how desperate we were to win and that probably summed us up, didn’t it?”

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Alo, who will have the World Cup-winning Vincent Koch for tighthead company at Wasps next season, recently spoke at length to RugbyPass about a career where he was once dubbed the heaviest player in the Premiership. 

“This pre-season just gone by was my best so far. I maybe only missed one session when I rolled my ankle. I have started to work hard and appreciate that if I am going to do rugby, if I want to succeed at it and I don’t want to let the team down, I have got to be in the best shape possible and take care of myself. 

“That was the main driver for me in the off-season. I didn’t want to come back in bad shape and let my team down because I know this season is a big one for the club. That drove me to stay on top of everything and I have managed to get good routines, so I hopefully will stay in good shape and get better.”

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