London Irish continued to show they are a growing force in the Gallagher Premiership by winning 16-10 at Wasps, with Ollie Hassell-Collins’ try rewarding a dominant second-half performance.
The close nature of the scoreline does not really do justice over how on top the Exiles were after the restart at the Ricoh Arena, as they controlled possession and territory, while never giving the hosts a moment to settle.
They had to survive some belated pressure from Wasps, following a couple of penalties that took play deep into their 22, but Declan Kidney’s side held out.
A great break from Tom Parton in the first minute eventually led to London Irish claiming the first points of the game through a straightforward penalty from Paddy Jackson.
Having withstood an early onslaught from the Exiles, Wasps clicked into gear and almost hit back when scrum-half Will Porter was held up over the line, following a succession of forward drives.
But a collapsed scrum soon gave Jacob Umaga the simple task of levelling the game with a penalty from in front of the posts.
Jackson then kicked Irish 6-3 ahead with his second penalty, as Wasps struggled to keep their discipline during the opening 20 minutes.
The hosts’ attacking game was not really functioning at this point, with Brad Shields knocking-on in trying to force an offload after stealing possession in the visitors’ 22.
But Wasps did manage to claim the game’s first try four minutes before half-time, as Tom Willis bundled his way over from inches out after Gabriel Oghre’s tapped penalty had caught the Exiles on the hop.
Umaga converted to give his side a 10-6 lead at the end of a disjointed first half, but London Irish seized back the advantage nine minutes after the restart.
After Curtis Rona was stopped in his tracks in the shadow of the posts, Nick Phipps quickly recycled the ball out left for Theo Brophy-Clews, whose pass gave Hassell-Collins a walk-in at the corner.
Jackson converted well from the touchline to put the visitors 13-10 ahead, a lead that was not immediately threatened, as Wasps continued to make errors.
A chance to extend the lead disappeared when Rob Simmons was tackled five metres short of the line after being put through by Sean O’Brien, with Wasps’ forwards then driving over the ball to turn over possession.
The Exiles continued to dominate territorially, but still could not pull clear, as Ben Donnell was penalised for holding on after being tackled five metres out.
But Jackson was able to add another three points with five minutes left with a beautifully-struck penalty, as Wasps fell to a third straight home defeat.
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