Wasps dig deep to grind out victory over spirited Worcester

Worcester 10 Wasps 24: It was not the free-flowing spectacle of last weekend's seven-try win against Sale Sharks, but Wasps still got the job done at Sixways

Andrew Baldock
Sunday 10 September 2017 18:18
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Josh Bassett celebrates with fellow try scorers Marcus Watson and Wilie le Roux after going over for Wasps
Josh Bassett celebrates with fellow try scorers Marcus Watson and Wilie le Roux after going over for Wasps

Wasps recorded a seventh successive Aviva Premiership victory over Worcester as they moved level on points with fellow early pace-setters Newcastle.

It was not the free-flowing spectacle of last weekend's seven-try win against Sale Sharks, but Wasps still got the job done at Sixways.

Wasps' 24-10 triumph was secured through a first-half Marcus Watson try and touchdowns from South African full-back Willie le Roux and wing Josh Bassett in the final quarter, while centre Jimmy Gopperth kicked three conversions and a penalty.

Worcester, beaten heavily by Newcastle in their Premiership opener, displayed bags of character and were level deep into the second half following a Biyi Alo try that Tom Heathcote converted, plus a Sam Olver penalty.

Gaby Lovobalavu takes on Jackson Willison

But the Warriors, who host league champions Exeter in just five days' time, missed out on a losing bonus point as Wasps had just enough in the tank to deny them.

Worcester boss Gary Gold made two changes, calling up wing Perry Humphreys and lock Pierce Phillips, while Watson and flanker Guy Thompson started for Wasps - Watson replacing prolific try-scorer Christian Wade, who was sidelined by a hamstring injury.

And Worcester were dealt an injury blow after just 25 seconds when prop Nick Schonert suffered what appeared to be an ankle injury and was carried off, with Alo immediately summoned to replace him.

But the Warriors responded well and apart from a threatening break by Bassett, Worcester enjoyed early territorial supremacy as they mixed it strongly up front through the efforts of skipper Donncha O'Callaghan and flanker Matt Cox.

Josh Adams is tackled by Rob Miller

Wasps went ahead through a Gopperth penalty following a rare excursion into Worcester's 22, and then they cut the Warriors open when fly-half Danny Cipriani launched an attack from inside his own half.

Cipriani found Le Roux in support, who freed Watson on an overlap, but the former England and Great Britain sevens star still had plenty to do before winning the race to gather his own kick and claim a try that Gopperth converted as torrential rain swept down.

Worcester strove to reduce the deficit by half-time and breached Wasps' defence four minutes before the break when Humphreys sent fly-half Heathcote over, but referee Tom Foley rightly disallowed it after consulting video replays, which highlighted obstruction by Warriors flanker Sam Lewis on Ashley Johnson.

Worcester, though, still had enough time to open their account, and their forwards produced the goods from close range as Alo claimed a touchdown that Heathcote converted.

Josh Bassett dives to score Wasps' third try

Heathcote went off early in the second period for a head injury assessment - Olver replaced him - and Wasps were also in the wars, with lock Kearnan Myall limping off to be replaced by Matt Symons.

Olver then kicked a penalty after Thompson infringed, setting up a tense final quarter as Wasps looked to maintain an unbeaten start to the season and Worcester sensed a notable scalp.

Warriors rugby director Gold and his opposite number Dai Young both rang the changes in an attempt for fresh impetus, but it was Worcester who looked more threatening in open play through the direct, powerful running of England and British and Irish Lions centre Ben Te'o.

Olver hit the post with an angled penalty as Worcester tried to nudge ahead, and Wasps struck as Le Roux sprinted down the touchline to touch down wide out and Gopperth's conversion went over off the post, before Bassett capitalised on Cipriani's kick to score and seal the deal.

PA

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