Joe Cokasinga hat-trick sends youthful Wasps to Anglo-Welsh Cup defeat

Wasps’ youthful side slipped to a 66-7 defeat at the hands of a powerful London Irish line-up in the third round of Anglo-Welsh Cup action.

66 - 7
London Irish Wasps

Sat 27th January 2018
3:00 pm

Madejski Stadium Stadium Anglo-Welsh Cup

Led by a Joe Cokanasiga hat-trick, an Exiles team containing 16 of the matchday 23 that lost to Leicester in their most recent Aviva Premiership outing claimed ten tries, to which the visitors responded through Nick Foster.

The black-and-golds, who fielded only Tom West from the combination that faced Saracens immediately prior to the European Cup fortnight, battled hard at the Madejski Stadium, but were unable to cope with their opponents’ superior cohesion and experience.

The home side got on the board in the second minute through winger Alex Lewington who skated into the corner following some slick handling which belied the wet conditions.

Thereafter Wasps settled well, and despite spending much of the opening quarter in their own half, the defence held reassuringly firm.

In particular some robust work from props Tom West and Will Stuart caught the eye, while England under 20 squad hooker Gaby Oghre proved a thorn in the home side at the breakdown.

However, the Exiles did enter the second quarter 12 points to the good after Theo Brophy-Clews converted scrum half Scott Steele’s close-range score which followed a lineout drive.

Stuart then won a scrum penalty, but with the lineout struggling the visitors were unable to exploit the opportunity created.

However, the visitors did soon open their account with an excellent try, finished by full back Foster after Stuart’s initial carry allowed Jacob Umaga to find space with a long pass.

Wasps’ fly-half also converted, but this stung the hosts into action and they registered three further tries in the closing ten minutes of the half.

The first was finished by powerful winger Cokanasiga after a long spell of continuity, Brophy-Clews’ break then set up the position from which Ollie Hoskins powered over for the bonus point score before James Marshall squeezed in the left corner just before the half-time whistle.

Brophy-Clews converted all three scores to leave the hosts with a 26-point interval advantage, but it was Wasps who threatened first in the second period.

Owain James and Craig Hampson combined well to take play into the home 22, after which a powerful scrum surge from the away eight also threatened the home line before Irish forced a turnover.

This meant it was the hosts who claimed the opening score of the second period, when replacement hooker Saia Fainga’a applied the finishing touch to a lineout drive following a sequence of scrum penalties.

Two superb pieces of defence from under 18’s winger Taju Atta prevented Lewington then Marshall adding to the home tally.

However, they did eventually claim their seventh try through replacement Piet  van Zyl, who finished a long-distance counter-attack try just after the hour mark.

Brophy-Clews added the conversion, but was unable to upgrade Irish’s eighth try, which came courtesy of a superb finish from Cokanasiga who popped up in midfield and outpaced the cover from 55 metres.

And the home side added further late scores through replacement Aseli Tikorotuma and Cokanasiga, both of which were converted by Tommy Bell.

London Irish Line ups

  1. Ben Franks
  2. David Paice
  3. Ollie Hoskins
  4. Franco Van Der Merwe
  5. Mike Coman
  6. Arno Botha
  7. Blair Cowan
  8. Ofisa Treviranus
  9. Scott Steele
  10. Theo Brophy-Clews
  11. Alex Lewington
  12. Johnny Williams
  13. Tom Fowlie
  14. Joe Cokanasiga
  15. James Marshall
  16. Saia Faingaa
  17. Harry Elrington
  18. Petrus Du Plessis
  19. Sebastian De Chaves
  20. Max Northcote Green
  21. Piet Van Zyl
  22. Tommy Bell
  23. Asaeli Tikoirotuma

Wasps Line ups

  1. Tom West
  2. Gabriel Oghre
  3. Will Stuart
  4. Tim Cardall
  5. Guy Borrowdale
  6. Will Owen
  7. James Seabrook
  8. Tom Willis
  9. Craig Hampson
  10. Jacob Umaga
  11. Owain James
  12. Sam Spink
  13. Brendan Macken
  14. Taju Atta
  15. Nick Foster
  16. TJ Harris
  17. George Thornton
  18. James Higgins
  19. Cameron Gray
  20. Andy Saull
  21. Josh Nott
  22. Connor Eastgate
  23. Cameron Anderson