Match-winner Andy Goode paid tribute to Wasps’ coach, Dai Young, for keeping him on the field, admitting he had a “stinker” for all but the final act of his side’s narrow victory over Exeter on Sunday.
Goode dropped the winning goal with the last play of Wasps’ Premiership win. However, the former Leicester and England fly-half conceded he would have substituted himself at half-time for his dismal display, when Wasps trailed 13-3, and praised rugby director Young’s trust to keep him on the field.
“I was surprised as well,” admitted Goode at Young’s decision not to replace him despite a string of tactical kicking errors. “Dai gives players a lot of confidence, he backs them, he’s as honest as the day is long.
“If he tells you you’re having a stinker you’re having a stinker, but he gave me the opportunity to turn it around. Luckily, he’s got faith in me. I would have taken myself off at half-time but there we go.”
Exeter will be furious that the television match official Graham Hughes chalked off a score for fly-half Henry Slade on his full debut. The England Under-20s graduate slid home late on, and the visitors would have closed out victory had the try been awarded.
Wasps’ scrum-half Joe Simpson was judged to have stopped Slade from grounding the ball, though later footage suggested the Exeter player had completed the score.
They had raced into 13-3 half-time control thanks to scrum-half Dave Lewis’s try and Slade’s goal-kicking. But once Wasps had the wind, and a ticking off from Young, they muscled back into the match, with Simpson crossing for a score of his own before denying Slade.
Admitting he was fortunate to stay the contest’s course, Goode said: “I took my time over that drop goal, I couldn’t have hit it any better, to be honest. You know when you hit them if it holds the line it’s going over, and luckily enough it did because I was pretty terrible for the rest of the game.
“Hopefully, people just remember the drop goal. I didn’t need to listen to the crowd to know how badly I was playing in that first half, actually for 79 minutes.
“I changed my boots at half-time, which probably helped psychologically. I’ll go to bed tonight remembering how badly I played, and that I was lucky to get away with it at the end there.”
Relieved he kept faith with Goode after toying with hauling him off at the interval, Young said: “It was probably the right decision in the end, wasn’t it? It was certainly something we thought about.By his own admission he’s had a lot better games.”
Wasps: Try Simpson; Conversion Goode; Penalties Daly, Goode 2; Drop goal Goode. Exeter: Try: Lewis; Conversion Slade; Penalties Slade 3.
Wasps: Daly; V Helu, C Bell, Hayter, Varndell; Goode, Simpson; Mullan, Festuccia, Cooper-Woolley (Taylor, 55), Palmer (Myall, 61), Launchbury, Johnson, Thompson, Pitman (Jackson, 67).
Exeter: Arscott; Nowell, Whitten, Shoemark (Hill, 67), James; Slade, Lewis; Moon, Whitehead (Yeandle, 49), Tui (Brown, 38), Mumm, Hanks (Welch, 49), Johnson, White (Horstmann, 68), Ewers.
Referee: A Small (RFU).