Last gasp Gopperth conversion clinches a draw at Kingsholm

Jimmy Gopperth’s nerveless conversion of Christian Wade’s last-gasp try salvaged a  25-all draw for Wasps at Gloucester through a storming second-half display which saw them battle back from a 12-point half-time deficit. 

25 - 25
Gloucester Rugby Wasps

Sat 24th February 2018
2:30 pm

Kingsholm Stadium Aviva Premiership As it happened

The visitors were second best for much of the opening 40 minutes, and as a result trailed 18-6 to tries from Richard Hibbard and Charlie Sharples.

However, they came to life after the break, dominated the scrum contest and claimed scores through Dan Robson, Thomas Young and Wade to which the home side responded through Henry Trinder.

The two points gained leave Wasps in third place, although wins for Newcastle and Bath mean the top six remains tightly packed with six rounds of action remaining.

Billy Twelvetrees' simple penalty put the home side ahead in the seventh minute, after Wasps were penalised at the first scrum of the game just outside their 22. 

After absorbing several minutes of pressure, Wasps put together some phases which took them into the  Gloucester half, but Josh Bassett was unable to gather Willie Le Roux’s long pass.

And Gloucester made them pay by crossing for their first try when Hibbard finished off a well-controlled line-out drive.

Twelvetrees added the conversion and he extended the hosts' advantage to 13 points early in the second quarter with another simple penalty after the visitors were penalised on the ground.

Wasps then got on the board through Gopperth’s well-struck 35 metre penalty, after which Le Roux and Bassett launched a threatening attack which eventually yielded a penalty which was sent to the corner.

Two more penalties followed in quick succession and Gopperth eventually landed another straightforward kick which narrowed the gap to seven points, with eight minutes of the half to play.

However, just as momentum appeared to be swinging towards the visitors, Gloucester added a second try five minutes before the break. Jason Woodward’s incisive break down the right made space for the supporting Sharples to go over.

This left the hosts with an 18-6 interval advantage, and it was the home side who started the second period the stronger through Woodward's explosive burst out of defence.

Seven minutes into the half, injuries forced Matt Mullan and Juan De Jongh from the field with Simon McIntyre and Brendan Macken taking their places.

The visitors then drove a maul to within a few  metres of the home line, after which Wade and Young were both held inches from the cherry-and-whie line.

The Wasps scrum was now beginning to assert itself, winning a series of penalties in the shadow of the home posts. Both Gloucester props were replaced, but one of the new arrivals, Paddy McAllister was immediately shown a yellow card. When the ball finally emerged, Le Roux appeared on the blind side to flick a pass towards Wade, but he was unable to finish.

However, the pacy winger made immediate amends with a dazzling run out  of defence. He shimmied through a gap and made 30 metres, before his inside pass sent Robson over for a fine score which Gopperth converted.

Wasps were now dominant, and after Twelvetrees missed a 35-metre penalty another long spell of black-and-gold pressure finally delivered a score for Young, who dived over from close range after McIntyre was stopped on the line.

This left the scores all square, with eleven minutes left, but against the run of play the hosts struck what appeared to be a decisive blow through Trinder, who claimed a try which Twelvetrees converted following Woodward's midfield break.

Wasps almost produced the perfect response when another scintillating run by Wade took him deep into the 22, but his long pass failed to find Bassett.

Gloucester then spent several minutes camped near the Wasps line, but superb defence denied them a fourth try and won the penalty that enabled the visitors to launch a final assault in search of a match-saving score.

Replacement Ben Harris’s thundering charge took Wasps within sight of the home posts, and when the ball was moved right, Wade finished strongly 12 metres in from the left corner.

It was now down to Gopperth to level the scores, and he kept his nerve, with a kick that revived memories of his match-winning 2016 Champions Cup quarter-final conversion.

Gloucester Rugby Line ups

  1. Josh Hohneck
  2. Richard Hibbard
  3. John Afoa
  4. Ed Slater
  5. Mariano Galarza
  6. Jake Polledri
  7. Lewis Ludlow
  8. Ruan Ackermann
  9. Callum Braley
  10. Billy Burns
  11. Henry Trinder
  12. Mark Atkinson
  13. Billy Twelvetrees
  14. Charlie Sharples
  15. Jason Woodward
  16. Motu Matu'u
  17. Paddy McAllister
  18. Fraser Balmain
  19. Tom Savage
  20. Freddie Clarke
  21. Ben Vellacott
  22. Matt Scott
  23. Tevita Halaifonua

Wasps Line ups

  1. Matt Mullan
  2. Tom Cruse
  3. Jake Cooper-Woolley
  4. James Gaskell
  5. Will Rowlands
  6. Ashley Johnson
  7. Thomas Young
  8. Guy Thompson
  9. Dan Robson
  10. Rob Miller
  11. Josh Bassett
  12. Jimmy Gopperth
  13. Juan de Jongh
  14. Christian Wade
  15. Willie Le Roux
  16. Antonio Harris
  17. Simon McIntyre
  18. Martin Moore
  19. Kearnan Myall
  20. Ben Harris
  21. Joe Simpson
  22. Brendan Macken
  23. Owain James