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'I felt we were short of ball-carriers': Wasps adjustments key to victory over Saracens

By PA
Wasps v Saracens – Gallagher Premiership – Coventry Building Society Arena

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Wasps’ director of rugby Lee Blackett was delighted to see his side continue their momentum with a fourth home victory on the trot.

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London Irish, Leicester, Toulouse and Saracens have all failed on their trips to Coventry, with Saracens the latest to depart with a 26-20 defeat.

The visitors outscored the hosts by three tries to two but 16 points from the boot of Jimmy Gopperth proved the difference.

Gopperth kicked four penalties and converted both their tries scored by Sam Spink and Elliot Stooke.

Alex Lewington, Nick Tompkins and Tom Woolstencroft scored Saracens’ tries, with Alex Lozowski adding a penalty and a conversion.

Blackett said: “I felt coming into the game it was a big game for our season in terms of the league and our support.

“The support has been building since Christmas and that’s what we want as people come to watch successful teams and you can’t hide away from that.

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“It was important that we stayed in touch in the league as teams can quite easily pull away before you know it.”

Wasps were out of the traps quickly to build up a 10-point lead as they dominated the opening quarter, and Blackett added: “The only disappointment was probably how many points we put on the board and I just felt we let them off in terms of that.

“And then all the momentum went over to them but I thought we came out second half and shifted that momentum straight away.”

Wasps were buoyed by the return of skipper Joe Launchbury and Tongan centre Malakai Fekitoa, both after long injury absences.

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Launchbury started the game but was replaced at half-time, with Fekitoa coming on for the last quarter.

Blackett said: “It was always the plan to give Joe just one half and we would thought it better for him to start.

“I felt we were short of ball-carriers, so Malakai coming on made a huge difference in the final period.”

Saracens were without their director of rugby Mark McCall as he takes a few weeks off with an illness, so coach Kevin Sorrell assumed control of the team.

Sorrell said: “The game left a frustrating feeling overall.

“We didn’t get any field position in the first 20 minutes and that was caused by a combination of our errors and ill-discipline.

“We came on strong in the second quarter but the second half was an exact replica of the first.”

Saracens had two tries ruled out by referee Karl Dickson and his TMO panel and for most of the game seemed to be on the wrong end of the decisions.

“Our boys showed unbelievable character and although we have to look inwards at ourselves, some of the decisions were tough to take,” Sorrell added.

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