'The Jasper Wiese try was a play Wiggy brought in on Thursday'
Freddie Burns has revealed why veteran scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth was the recipient of so many on-field plaudits after Leicester scored their crucial second try at Twickenham in last weekend’s Gallagher Premiership final. No8 Jasper Wiese was the scorer to put Leicester 12-3 ahead nearing half-time, but the celebrations focused on the half-back as he had come up with the cunning plan to unlock the defence of Saracens, his former club.
Wigglesworth had been approached by Leicester boss Steve Borthwick in advance of the final to engineer a play that might sucker Saracens and his idea was put into action in the 35th minute when Ellis Genge tapped a five-metre penalty after Tigers had dominated at a scrum.
“The Jasper Wiese was a play that Wiggy brought in on Thursday,” said Burns during an appearance on this week’s RugbyPass Offload. “Basically, Steve had apparently gone to Wiggy and gone, ‘Look, I want something different that potentially changes the game’ and the coaches had analysed it.
“What happens normally is if you get a penalty on that 15-metre channel the best defenders who want to make a tackle stand towards the posts whereas the people who don’t stand more towards the touchline. So Gengey taps it like he is going to go infield and then turns and goes outfield but also all the boys were stacked towards the posts and then Jasper came around the corner.
“When you get that, when you practice things like that and then you eventually get that moment… the call, I’m preparing myself to take that kick at goal and then Gengey looked at me and goes, ‘No mate, it’s Rhino’. I think the call is Rhino or something like that and boom, two phases, we have scored and you’re like, ‘Here we go’.”
While Springboks pick Wiese mightn’t have garnered the full attention for his try from the Wigglesworth pass, Burns made sure on the show to credit him for a massive carry in the lead-up to the drop goal scored with 23 seconds remaining in the final that Leicester won 15-12. “I have had the joy of a lot of it being about the drop goal and don’t get me wrong, I will milk it ’til the day I die.
“The boys were class all year but that last passage of play, the ability that we had to stay in the kick battle like we did, to get people booing Ben Youngs when he put it up and then Chess [Olly Chessum] gets it back. Two things if you watch it back you will see. Firstly, Ben Youngs’ innate ability without me even having to guide the team from behind just knowing where to put the boys, he didn’t work us around the corner, he got us in a good position.
“And the second one, Jasper Wiese was just unbelievable all day. There’s the moment before his carry to the ruck before, if you watch it back he looks at Lenny [Youngs] and he just nods his head. You’d think in a final you’d be, ‘Give me the ball, give me the ball!’
“But he literally just looks at him, nods his head, and I think it’s Jamie George he bumps to the ground, carries into Maro, takes Maro back about five metres and that is the moment that you then go, ‘Right!’… if he gets the ball and gets stopped there it’s a whole different kick but he makes five yards. Honestly, these boys are unbelievable. There are so many moments in it, all year.”
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