Saints stung as Wasps end Gardens hoodoo

Dan Robson opened the scoring for Wasps (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Dan Robson opened the scoring for Wasps (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Saints suffered their first home defeat to Wasps for almost 11 years on a sobering Friday night at Franklin’s Gardens.

The away side scored three tries inside the opening 30 minutes, through Dan Robson, Rob Miller and Josh Bassett.

And Saints, who headed off at half-time to a smattering of boos from the home fans, couldn’t find the response needed to get anything from the game, despite a second-half Sam Dickinson score.

Wasps had not won at the Gardens since November, 2005, but they were left to celebrate a memorable 24-11 success thanks to that blistering start.

Fly-half Jimmy Gopperth had given Dai Young’s men an early lead, taking a penalty chance amid the swirling wind and rain.

The inclement conditions were wreaking havoc in the lineout and from high kicks, with both sides testing each other via the aerial route.

But Saints simply couldn’t relieve the pressure and they soon conceded for the first time in five home games, as scrum-half Robson darted over for a try.

Gopperth’s successful conversion made it a 10-0 lead for the away side, who were totally in control of proceedings.

Saints were really struggling and they soon shipped a second score as some flimsy defending from Tom Kessell and Dickinson allowed full-back Miller to score.

Gopperth converted for a 17-0 lead before Myler responded with Saints’ first points, from the tee.

But Wasps were soon waltzing in for their third score of the game as Miller raced through the non-existent home defence and Bassett latched onto the pass to cruise home.

Saints boss Mallinder was so frustrated by his team’s lacklustre display that he headed down to the side of the pitch to offer verbal encouragement.

The consequence was that his team started to put some pressure on Wasps, who continually offended close to their own line.

But somehow the away side held out, with a Saints knock-on bringing an end to a stream of forward shoves.

Wasps weren’t able to avoid the wrath of the referee for long in the second half though, as No.8 Nathan Hughes was sent to the sin bin.

Myler landed the subsequent penalty, but when the sin bin period came to an end, Saints had only managed to add those three points.

Gopperth had missed a penalty during that time and his team were looking confident in shutting Saints out, with the home fans growing increasingly frustrated with referee Thomas Foley.

The game then petered out, with both sides using their benches, leaving some Saints fans to exit the Gardens with as much as 15 minutes remaining.

Dickinson did manage to get his team a try as he picked up a loose ball and powered over, but it was scant consolation on a disappointing night for Saints.

Saints: Mallinder; Elliott, G Pisi (Wilson 60), Burrell, Collins; Myler (Hanrahan 67), Kessell (Dickson 45); A Waller (E Waller 50), Haywood (Williams 67), Brookes (Denman 60); Paterson (Craig 52), Matfield (Day 52); Wood (c), Harrison, Dickinson.

Wasps: Miller; Halai, Macken, Downey (Tagicakibau 67), Bassett; Gopperth, Robson; McIntyre (Bristow 65), Shervington (Johnson 50), Cooper-Woolley (Swainston 65); Gaskell, Myall (Cannon 60); Rieder (Young 60), Smith (c), Hughes.

Referee: Thomas Foley

Attendance: 14,889