London Irish 42-42 Wasps: Penalty try completes late fightback as hosts earn Premiership draw

Wasps led 39-14 in the second half in the Gallagher Premiership clash at the Brentford Community Stadium but London Irish fought back to earn a 42-42 draw; a penalty try from a collapsed line-out drive off the last play of the game saw the spoils shared

Last Updated: 01/05/22 6:11pm

London Irish were awarded a late penalty try against Wasps to level the scores at 42-42

London Irish completed a remarkable comeback by collecting a penalty try from a collapsed line-out drive off the last play of the game to leave Wasps shell-shocked in a 42-42 draw.

Wasps looked to have kept their slim hopes of an end-of-season Gallagher Premiership play-off spot alive when they led 39-14 but they will surely rue their decision to take off a few leading players when they were in total control of the match.

However, Wasps took their unbeaten run to seven and Irish have still not beaten Wasps at home for nine years – as they snatched their fifth draw of the season – but those facts will be of scant consolation to Wasps.

Francois Hougaard scored two tries for Wasps, for whom Jack Willis, Zach Kibirige and Charlie Atkinson were their other scorers, with Jimmy Gopperth kicking four conversions and two penalties. Jacob Umaga added a penalty of his own.

Francois Hougaard dives over for Wasps

Francois Hougaard dives over for Wasps

Irish responded with tries from Kyle Rowe, Tom Parton, Henry Arundell, Ollie Hassell-Collins and Tom Pearson, with Paddy Jackson converting all five before the crucial penalty try was awarded.

Two poor kicks from Atkinson and a mistake from Dan Robson gifted Irish an early platform, but the visitors’ defence held firm against continuous pressure.

London Irish (14) 42
Tries: Rowe (17), Parton (27), Pearson (67), Arundell (73), Hassell-Collins (77), Penalty (80)
Cons: Jackson (19, 28, 68, 74, 78)

Wasps (24) 42
Tries: J Willis (14), Hougaard (30, 47), Atkinson (35), Kibirige (58)
Cons: Gopperth (15, 31, 36, 59)
Pens: Gopperth (40, 55), Umaga (79)

For 15 minutes, Wasps struggled to get a foothold in the match, but from their first attack they opened the scoring.

They won a penalty on halfway and from the resulting line-out, Willis finished off an impressive forward drive.

London Irish's Nick Phipps passes from the scrum

London Irish’s Nick Phipps passes from the scrum

Wasps’ lead lasted only three minutes as Irish produced a free-flowing move to score their opener. A deft off-load from Pearson saw Benhard Janse van Rensburg make a strong burst down the right flank before the centre provided Rowe with the scoring pass.

After 26 minutes, Irish took the lead when Hassell-Collins collected a superbly-judged cross-field kick from Van Rensburg to send Parton over.

The topsy-turvy nature of the game continued when the dominant Wasps scrum exerted pressure to create the opening for Robson’s excellent long pass to give Hougaard a walk-in.

Irish continued to struggle in the tight against a formidable Wasps pack and from another line-out drive, Robson was again alert by darting to the blindside for Atkinson to cross.

Charlie Atkinson (right) celebrates after scoring a try for Wasps

Charlie Atkinson (right) celebrates after scoring a try for Wasps

Gopperth converted and added a penalty to give Wasps a 24-14 lead at the end of a frenetic first half.

The first score of the second half was crucial and it went the way of the visitors as they went through numerous phases before Malakai Fekitoa sent Hougaard in for his second.

Fekitoa then made a sharp break only for Robson to be dragged down narrowly short of the try-line, but Wasps extended their lead to 18 points with a second penalty from Gopperth.

The situation got worse for Irish when Josh Bassett blasted through a huge hole in their defence for Kibirige to score their fifth before the home side staged their rally.

Henry Arundell touches down for London Irish

Henry Arundell touches down for London Irish

With 12 minutes remaining they still trailed by 25 points, but converted tries from Pearson, Arundell and Hassell-Collins put them within striking distance.

A penalty from Umaga looked to have calmed Wasps’ nerves, but after an Exiles maul was dragged to the ground, referee Craig Maxwell-Keys awarded a penalty try after consulting the TMO, with Joe Launchbury picking up a yellow card as a result.

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