Wasps leave Tigers to curse Murphy's flaw

London Wasps 37, Leicester Tigers 30: Full-back dithers, Haughton pounces and remarkable comeback is complete

Correct though it is to wonder when it was that Wasps last conceded a four-try bonus point in the first half, or Leicester went scoreless in a second period and were so comprehensively overhauled as a result, it was also justifiable simply to smile and wallow in the relish expressed by Tony Hanks, the Wasps coach.

"I'm not thinking of any other games," said the New Zealander, when asked if he could remember such a stunning turnaround. "We need to enjoy this for the moment it is. It will do wonders for our belief in what we're trying to do."

Wasps won thanks to their fly-half, Dave Walder, kicking six penalties and two conversions and missing none, and by squeezing multiple offences and errors out of Leicester as the match wore on. The Tigers had ended the first half 30-18 ahead and with four tries to Wasps' two.

"Hands up who thought we were going to win at that point," Hanks asked the press. Every arm stayed by its side. Walder kicked superbly from every distance up to the halfway line and under instructions delivered at the interval – calmly, not angrily, according to Hanks' sidekick, Shaun Edwards – helped grind Leicester down. The reigning champions had a relative novice, Billy Twelvetrees, in the pivotal position of inside centre.

Leicester's director of rugby, Richard Cockerill, castigated his captain and full-back, Geordan Murphy, for dithering over a chip from Walder and allowing Richard Haughton to score the clinching try with five minutes left. Murphy had just spent a couple of minutes flat out after a bang on the head. "Tough," was Cockerill's implication. But he also pointed to an injury list which, even given his club's enviable resources, has hit them hard.

"Any other side in the Premiership with our injuries wouldn't be playing as well as we are," Cockerill said. His point being that these defeats in September are not as damaging as they would be in May.

Hanks can never have had this much fun in his old job, managing a supermarket. The nirvana moment came at the last knockings, when five black jerseys snuffed out Leicester's final attack by hounding the No 8 Thomas Waldrom over the touchline. This was the obdurate defence Wasps have been known for and which was grievously lacking in an astonishingly ragged first half. You wonder whether the refereeing directives have neutered Leicester's legendary ability to wrest possession in the fight on the floor.

Wasps have not won four league titles and two Heineken Cup since 2003 by conceding four tries at home in 37 minutes. Some may point to those directives, which favour the attacking side, but attitude and technique can win through and Wasps were lacking in both. From the kick-off they were slow to muster around Mark van Gisbergen in his 22 and Leicester won a penalty for not releasing which Jeremy Staunton was unable to convert.

The scoring soon started, though: Tom Varndell grabbed two tries for Wasps against his old club, after five and 31 minutes. First he caught Staunton's drop-out and pirouetted away from Scott Hamilton to sprint home on the left; then he juggled a pass from Walder before sidestepping Murphy. In between, the Tigers were busy at the other end. Staunton kicked a penalty and in the 19th minute Wasps had a line-out in their 22 and box-kicked. With Waldrom trucking it up and Alex Tuilagi fixing two defenders, Matt Smith strolled over. Another Staunton penalty was followed by a high-quality try by Leicester's England scrum-half, Ben Youngs. Under scrutiny after his displays on tour in Australia, the 21-year-old tapped a penalty at a scrum a dozen meters inside his own half and hared past Van Gisbergen to the posts.

All the above had the scores tied at 18-18 but Leicester moved clear with tries by Twelvetrees and Tom Croft. In the 35th minute Waldrom and Youngs fed Twelvetrees, who cut through with ease. Staunton kicked his first conversion and three minutes later a chip by Youngs toward the corner had Van Gisbergen and Andy Powell back-pedalling. Croft waited cannily for the Welsh No 8 to lay the ball back, stole it and slam-dunked the bonus-point try. Waldrom was also denied two tries by interventions from Riki Flutey.

Wasps began the second half with a mighty shove in the scrum and Walder picking up where he had left off, with a long-range penalty. Three more kicks sailed over for 30-30 with 10 minutes remaining, but Twelvetrees had missed once. Varndell limped off and it was his replacement, Haughton, who scored when Murphy dithered. Walder converted to seal the win.

London Wasps: M van Gisbergen; T Varndell (R Haughton, 45), D Waldouck, R Flutey, D Lemi; D Walder, N Berry; T Payne, R Webber (J Ward, 54), B Broster, S Shaw, J Cannon (R Birkett, 44), J Worsley (D Ward-Smith, 13-20), A Powell (Ward-Smith, 60), T Rees (capt).

Leicester Tigers: G Murphy (capt; H Agulla, 77); S Hamilton, M Smith, B Twelvetrees, A Tuilagi; J Staunton (M Tuilagi, 40), B Youngs; M Ayerza, G Chuter, M Castrogiovanni (D Cole, 50), E Slater, G Skivington, T Croft, T Waldrom, B Woods.

Referee: W Barnes (London).

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn