Ten-try Sandy Park thriller ends in a draw

Wasps and Exeter have produced some thrilling matches in recent years, and this ten-try spectacular was up there with the very best. 

35 - 35
Exeter Chiefs Wasps

Sun 12th February 2017
1:00 pm

Sandy Park Stadium Stadium Aviva Premiership Highlights As it happened
After Jonny Hill’s red card, 14-men Exeter rallied strongly, to take the lead, ten minutes into the second half. A memorable afternoon ended all square, after Wasps drew level with Joe Simpson’s glorious counter-attacking try, ten minutes from time. The result means that Wasps stretched their lead at the top of the Premiership to five points over Saracens, with Exeter a further five points behind, in third place.

Wasps kicked off, with a strong wind at their backs. After a blindside break by Dan Robson almost opened up the home defence, they went ahead in the fifth minute, with Christian Wade’s tenth Premiership try of the season. Ironically, it came after Wade had spilt the ball in contact, just inside his own half. Exeter pounced on the loose ball and moved play infield, only for Phil Dollman to knock on. With the advantage over, Wasps moved the ball out to the right, where Kurtley Beale came into the line at speed. He linked with Jimmy Gopperth, who drew the final defender to send Wade clear. He came in to touch down near the posts, giving Gopperth a relatively easy conversion, despite the gusty wind.

Exeter came straight back, after Danny Cipriani’s clearance kick was charged down, on the 22. He did well to go back and gather, but was forced to carry the ball over the line, giving Exeter an attacking scrum.  After the first scrum was stopped on the line, the second saw the home side power their way over, with Sam Simmonds touching down for the try, which Gareth Steenson converting.
Almost from the restart, Kearnan Myall went over in the left corner, but the TMO ruled that he was in touch before he grounded the ball. Wasps stole the lineout, and Josh Bassett came off his wing to race through a gap in midfield. A try seemed certain, but he lost his footing as he stepped inside. A scrum followed, and Mitch Lees was sent to the sin bin, for a breakdown offence, in front of the posts. Wasps went for another scrum, and a powerful shove sent the home forwards back at a rate of knots, before they went to ground, just short of the line. The referee immediately awarded a penalty try, and Jimmy Gopperth’s conversion gave Wasps a 14-7 lead, with 14 minutes played.

Fifteen minutes before halftime, Exeter drew level, after Phil Dollman shook off a weak tackle in midfield, to burst into the 22. He found Jack Maunder in support, and the scrum-half went over near the posts. Then conversion was a formality for Steenson, but Wasps immediately reclaimed the lead, when Alex Rieder went over, following thrusts by Dan Robson and Christian Wade. Gopperth’s conversion made the score 21-14, with eleven minutes of the half to play.

Five minutes before the interval, Exeter pressure forced a series of penalties, deep inside the Wasps 22.  The inevitable ensued, with a driving lineout being stopped illegally. The referee awarded the second penalty try of the game, and Steenson’s conversion levelled the score. Wasps suffered a further blow, as Thomas Young was shown  a yellow card, but there was no further score before halftime.

With a one-man advantage, and the wind behind them, Exeter began the second half on the offensive, and a buildup of pressure ended with Luke Cowan- Dickie crossing for the bonus point try, which Gareth Steenson converted, three minutes after the restart..

Directly from the restart, Ashley Johnson was hit by a high tackle by Jonny Hill. After consulting the TMO, the referee showed the lock a red card. Wasps went for the corner, the forwards drove for the line, and the ball was released to the backs, where Danny Cipriani sent Kyle Eastmond over between the posts. Gopperth converted, and it was all-square at 28-28, with a try bonus for Wasps safely in the bank.

WIthin three minutes, Exeter were back in front, after poor defence allowed him to go through some weak tackles for a try, which Steenson converted. Wasps came roaring back with a bulldozing run by Simon McIntyre, to take play into the Exeter 22. He found Will Rowlands in support, and the ball was moved out to the left, where Josh Bassett went close. Danny Cipriani was then stopped just short. Wasps retained possession, but then spilt the ball as they went for the line.

Several minutes of Exeter pressure threatened a sixth try, before Wasps won an important breakdown penalty, in the shadow of the posts.

A neatly worked lineout move gave Wasps the platform for a sustained, multi-phased siege of the Exeter line, but wave after of attack ended with a penalty being conceded, with twelve minutes left on the clock. A minute later, Wasps produced a try of the season contender, with an attack from their own 22.  Danny Cipriani’s pace created the space to send Frank Halai over halfway. He found Joe Simpson on his inside, and the replacement scrumhalf stepped inside, before driving through a last-ditch tackle to go over for a magnificent score. Gopperth’s conversion levelled the scores yet again.

Wasps came close to an even better try, after Kurtley Beale gathered a long clearance, before finding Frank Halai with a long pass. He crossed halfway, before combining again with Joe Simpson. He beat two defenders before feeding Thomas Young, but he lost the ball in contact, with space beckoning on the outside.

In the final two minutes, Wasps went through the phases, to take play up towards the Exeter 22, before a pass went astray, and Henry Slade hacked downfield. It took a superb piece of play by Kurtley Beale to cover back, gather and launch a counterattack, with a phenomenal offload to Ashley Johnson, deep inside his 22. Wasps then controlled the ball through several phases, to run the clock down, before Danny Cipriani thumped it into touch, to end a thrilling encounter.

Exeter Chiefs Line ups

  1. Ben Moon
  2. Luke Cowan-Dickie
  3. Greg Holmes
  4. Mitch Lees
  5. Jonny Hill
  6. David Dennis
  7. Don Armand
  8. Sam Simmonds
  9. Jack Maunder
  10. Gareth Steenson
  11. James Short
  12. Ollie Devoto
  13. Ian Whitten
  14. Olly Woodburn
  15. Phil Dollman
  16. Jack Yeandle
  17. Carl Rimmer
  18. Harry Williams
  19. Sam Skinner
  20. Tom Johnson
  21. Stuart Townsend
  22. Henry Slade
  23. Lachie Turner

Wasps Line ups

  1. Simon McIntyre
  2. Carlo Festuccia
  3. Martin Moore
  4. Matt Symons
  5. Kearnan Myall
  6. Ashley Johnson
  7. Thomas Young
  8. Alex Rieder
  9. Dan Robson
  10. Danny Cipriani
  11. Josh Bassett
  12. Kyle Eastmond
  13. Jimmy Gopperth
  14. Christian Wade
  15. Kurtley Beale
  16. Tom Cruse
  17. Tom Bristow
  18. Jake Cooper-Woolley
  19. Will Rowlands
  20. James Gaskell
  21. Joe Simpson
  22. Alapati Leiua
  23. Frank Halai