Tom Willis scores last-gasp try to complete Wasps comeback against London Irish
Tom Willis scored a last-second try to complete a hat-trick and an amazing comeback by Wasps, as they defeated London Irish 39-36 in an absolute barnstormer to move into the Champions Cup places in the Gallagher Premiership.
The visitors had trailed 33-10 after a torrid first half at the Brentford Community Stadium, in which Curtis Rona and Albert Tuisue both scored twice for the Exiles, who ran in five tries during the first 40 minutes.
But Wasps refused to lie down and were a team transformed after the break, with this victory lifting them up to seventh in the table with just one match of the season remaining.
London Irish flew out of the traps by scoring twice in the first five minutes, as Rona was helped over before Ollie Hassell-Collins went in at the corner down the left from Matt Rogerson’s pass.
Jacob Umaga’s penalty put Wasps on the board, but they were soon rocked back again as Rona went over for his second try, as he went through a big gap after being picked out by Terrence Hepetema’s pass.
The visitors were gifted a route back into the game as Josh Bassett intercepted Blair Cowan’s pass inside Irish’s 22 to go in unopposed, with Umaga converting.
Wasps’ hopes were raised further in the aftermath as Hepetema was sin-binned, following a TMO check, for crashing into the head of Willis.
Despite being a man light, the Exiles had the bonus point in the bag after 34 minutes, as Tuisue was bundled over after a succession of pick-and-drives.
The hosts continued to pound away and there was no stopping Tuisue from claiming his second right on half-time, as he broke off the back of a five-metre scrum.
That seemingly ended the match as a contest, but Wasps pulled a try back two minutes after the restart when Willis went over down the left, off Thomas Young’s off-load following a great break by Marcus Watson.
The fightback from the visitors continued when Jeff Toomaga-Allen’s off-load put Umaga into space down the right and his pass allowed Watson to dive in at the corner.
Irish lost lock Adam Coleman to the sin bin, as they leaked penalties, and Wasps soon struck again, as Willis scored off the back of a driving maul.
A penalty stopped the rot for the hosts, but Wasps just kept coming and they reduced the gap to six points with 14 minutes left through a brilliant finish from 40 metres out by Bassett.
With the clock in the red, Watson was forced into touch before he could ground the ball, while advantage was being played, but the visitors would not be denied from the resulting penalty, as Willis crashed over to snatch the win and complete his hat-trick.
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