Late Tom Cruse score clinches a hard-fought win over London Irish

Two tries from Tom Cruse, including a 76th minute match-clinching charge-down score, enabled Wasps to claim a battling win over London Irish.

24 - 16
Wasps London Irish

Sun 4th March 2018
3:00 pm

Ricoh Arena Stadium Aviva Premiership As it happened

The hosts led 7-0 at the break, thanks to Cruse’s first try,  then doubled their lead through Dan Robson’s second half effort.

However, the visitors then mounted a spirited recovery and their second try, five minutes from time, brought them to within a point before Cruse sealed a nervy win direct from the restart.

With heavy rain falling, the visitors missed an early chance to go ahead when Greig Tonks’s 40-metre penalty drifted wide. 

A minute later, David Paice was shown a yellow card for a body-check on Guy Thompson, as the Wasps man chased his chip ahead.

In difficult conditions, both sides were guilty of handling errors, but it was the hosts who produced the first attacking threat, when Christian Wade gathered a loose pass and chipped over the defence. 

The winger’s strong chase put James  Marshall under pressure and the fullback’s knock-on gave the home side a scrum inside the Irish 22. A penalty followed, then a drive from the ensuing lineout ended with Cruse going over for a try which Danny Cipriani converted.

The visitors then declined two kickable penalties and Paice returned in time to throw into a lineout five metres from the home line which was thwarted by excellent defence.

With 20 minutes gone the visitors turned down the simplest of penalties in favour of a quick tap in front of the posts, only for Wade’s covering tackle to halt Tom Fowlie a few metres from the left corner.

Tonks was then fractionally short from 40 metres after Wasps were penalised for dissent before the home side finally found some momentum in the closing moments of the half.

A soaring leap and catch by Wade launched a multi-phase passage of play which ended with Brendan Macken charging down Marshall’s clearance. However, the Irish centre was unable to touch down as the ball crossed the line, which left the hosts with a seven-point interval advantage.

Wasps doubled this with a second try early in the second half. After the ball was moved wide Le Roux found Wade who was stopped just short, but two quick rucks enabled Dan Robson to dive over from close-range for a try which Cipriani converted.

Replacement Tommy Bell’s angled burst then took the Exiles deep into the home 22. It led to a penalty, and it was Bell who landed the kick with 56 minutes played. 

Wasps threatened through some slick handling only for a stray pass to land at Marshall’s feet and he raced downfield, before passing inside to Dave Porecki.

And fittingly the same pair combined to convert this field position into a try, as Bell found touch at the corner from the ensuing penalty then Porecki finished off the lineout drive to narrow the gap to 14-8.

From the restart, the Exiles were caught offside and Cipriani pushed the lead to nine points, but that score was soon cancelled out by Bell's second penalty.

Joe Cokanasiga’s storming run out of defence immediately put the visitors back on the attack and they continued to apply pressure through Johnny Williams’s powerful run before a knock-on brought welcome relief for the home side.

Replacement scrum-half Scott Steele’s deft chip then set home nerves jangling, with Gopperth forced to carry over. The resulting scrum produced a penalty which was sent to the corner, after which Petrus Du Plessis finished off another unstoppable lineout drive to claim his side’s second try.

Bell missed the tricky conversion, leaving his side just four minutes to retrieve their one-point deficit. However, the home fans were immediately able to breathe easier when Cruse charged down a clearance kick on the Irish 22, controlled the ball and won the race to touch down his second try.

Cipriani's conversion gave Wasps an eight-point advantage but the opportunity to grab an unlikely bonus point ended when several close-range thrusts were stopped just short of the away line.

Wasps Line ups

  1. Simon McIntyre
  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. Danny Cipriani
  11. Josh Bassett
  12. Jimmy Gopperth
  13. Brendan Macken
  14. Christian Wade
  15. Willie Le Roux
  16. TJ Harris
  17. Ben Harris
  18. Will Stuart
  19. Kearnan Myall
  20. Jack Willis
  21. Joe Simpson
  22. Rob Miller
  23. Owain James

London Irish Line ups

  1. Ben Franks
  2. David Paice
  3. Ollie Hoskins
  4. Franco Van Der Merwe
  5. Filo Paulo
  6. Arno Botha
  7. Conor Gilsenan
  8. Ofisa Treviranus
  9. Piet Van Zyl
  10. Greig Tonks
  11. Alex Lewington
  12. Johnny Williams
  13. Tom Fowlie
  14. Joe Cokanasiga
  15. James Marshall
  16. Dave Porecki
  17. Harry Elrington
  18. Petrus Du Plessis
  19. Sebastian De Chaves
  20. Jake Schatz
  21. Scott Steele
  22. Tommy Bell
  23. Asaeli Tikoirotuma