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Wasps on course for home semi-final after late, late show

By Alex Fisher
Wasps’ Matt Mullan scores

Wasps left it very, very late to restore their lead at the top of the Premiership as Matt Mullan and Jimmy Gopperth secured an over-time bonus-point victory over Northampton Saints.


The league leaders were far from their best at the Ricoh Arena, but showed their battling qualities to stay in touch and nick a 32-30 win with Mullan’s score beyond the 80th minute – Gopperth kicking the decisive conversion to seal a crucial five points that keeps their hopes of a home semi-final alive.

It could have been much more comfortable for the hosts, though, had Joe Launchbury not been deemed offside as Willie Le Roux crossed late on – the South African denied for a second successive week after dropping the ball when touching down in their European Champions Cup defeat to Leinster last time out.

Luckily for the England second-row it mattered little as Wasps kept their composure to get Mullan over with time up.

Northampton had the better of the opening 40 minutes thanks to tries from Ben Foden, Alex Waller and George North; Stephen Myler adding a penalty but missing all three conversions.

The visitors led 18-13 at the break after Elliot Daly gave watching England coach Eddie Jones plenty to think about with a 16th-minute try, Gopperth keeping Wasps in touch with the boot.

Christian Wade did his hopes of an England call no harm with an early score after the restart before Joe Simpson crossed for the hosts after 51 minutes.

Northampton would not lie down, though, as Ahsee Tuala and Teimana Harrison put them 30-25 ahead going into the final 10 minutes.


Le Roux thought he had levelled the match when he touched down, but the South African saw his effort ruled out for an infringement from Launchbury – much to the England international’s dismay.

Wasps’ unbeaten home run looked set to stop at 16 league matches, but Mullan made sure it goes on and the result moves Dai Young’s side five points clear of Exeter Chiefs with three matches remaining.


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