Wasps hold on to edge champs

Date published: September 14 2014

Wasps resisted a late comeback from Northampton Saints to claim a 20-16 Premiership victory at Adams Park on Sunday.

Wasps resisted a late comeback from Northampton Saints to claim a 20-16 Premiership victory at Adams Park on Sunday.

Two tries in the space of as many minutes – from Ashley Johnson and Tom Varndell – around the hour mark put Wasps clear but a late try from Saints replacement full-back Ben Foden set up a tense finish.

The first half saw little in terms of try-scoring action thanks to a resolute Wasps defence, with the sides going in at half time level thanks to penalties from Stephen Myler and Andy Goode.

Two second-half penalties from Myler gave the Saints a 9-3 lead which quickly became a deficit when Johnson and Varndell scored for the home side.

Myler scored the first points of the game after a wayward Goode kick resulted in the Saints winning a penalty from the scrum.

Wasps equalised when Northampton were penalised for pulling down the maul, with Goode slotting his penalty home.

Tempers flared after half an hour between Alex Corbisiero and Johnson which saw both players sent to the sin bin with Corbisiero's punishment being for flat hand to the cheeky after a late hit from the South African flank.

Wasps fans were given something to shout about with three minutes left of the first half when they came close to scoring the first try of the game with Varndell racing down the left only be stopped by James Wilson to see the sides go into the break all square.

Saints looked to have taken the lead when Ken Pisi chipped through for Wilson to go over but the try was ruled out by the TMO for a forward pass.

Play was brought back for the penalty in the build-up and the Saints settled for three points from Myler before adding another penalty on 55 minutes to go 9-3 up. Wasps scored the first try of the game on the hour mark when Johnson intercepted a pass to race to the corner and Ruaridh Jackson's conversion gave the hosts the lead for the first time.

Wasps extended their lead little over a minute later when Jackson and Elliot Daly combined well before Varndell collected his own chip to score in the corner with Jackson converting again.

Wasps added three points to their tally after Saints were penalised for offside, Rob Miller this time converting the penalty.

Northampton eventually managed to break down the Wasps defence to score with two minutes left to play with Foden going over and Myler converting to leave the Saints one try away but ultimately, there was not enough time left and Wasps came away with the win.

The scorers:

For Wasps:
Tries: Johnson, Varndell
Cons: Jackson 2
Pens: Goode, Miller
Yellow card: Johnson

For Northampton:
Try: Foden
Con: Myler
Pens: Myler 3
Yellow card: Corbisiero

Wasps: 15 Andrea Masi, 14 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Chris Bell, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 James Haskell (c) 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 James Gaskell , 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 John Yapp, 18 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 19 Kearnan Myall, 20 Guy Thompson, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Ruaridh Jackson, 23 Rob Miller.

Northampton: 15 James Wilson, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 George North, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Samu Manoa, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Calum Clark, 5 Christian Day, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 1 Alex Corbisiero.
Replacements: 16 Ross McMillan, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 James Craig, 20 Jon Fisher 21 Kahn Fotuali'i,I 22 Will Hooley, 23 Ben Foden.

Venue: Adams Park
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant Referees: Andy Watson, Nigel Carrick
TMO: Geoff Warren