Wasps boss 'gutted' by London Irish draw 'defeat'

·2-min read
Frustrating draw - Wasps coach Lee Blackett (AFP/Lindsey Parnaby) (Lindsey Parnaby)

Wasps coach Lee Blackett said it felt like his side had lost after they squandered a large lead late on during a stunning 42-42 draw with London Irish in the English Premiership on Sunday.

The visitors were 39-14 ahead with 68 minutes played only for London Irish to hit back with four tries in the closing 12 minutes.

It was the Exiles' fifth draw of the season, a league record, and the highest scoring draw in Premiership history, surpassing the 41-41 result between Leicester and Gloucester in 2011.

The result, sealed with a penalty try for London Irish, did little for either side's hopes of finishing in the top four and qualifying for the title-deciding play-offs.

Wasps, with two games of the regular season remaining, are now eight points behind fourth-placed Northampton, with London Irish seven points adrift of a play-off spot.

Former Springbok scrum-half Francois Hougaard scored two tries for Wasps, with Jack Willis, Zach Kibirige and Charlie Atkinson also going over.

Jimmy Gopperth kicked four conversions and two penalties, with Jacob Umaga adding a penalty.

The Exiles hit back with tries from Kyle Rowe, Tom Parton, Henry Arundell, Ollie Hassell-Collins and Tom Pearson, with Ireland fly-half Paddy Jackson converting all five scores.

Then came the seven-point penalty try that saw London Irish level the match with the last play of the game after Wasps collapsed a line-out drive.

"It feels like walking away with a heavy loss and not collecting three valuable points in a tough fixture away from home," said Blackett.

"I'm gutted because I thought I would be describing some terrific efforts from some of our players as they put in a massive effort for the first 65 minutes."

Blackett replaced several first-choice players when Midlands club Wasps were in command but said he had no qualms about his decision-making.

"I don't regret taking certain players off as we believed that we had sufficient strength to see out the game," he explained.

Exiles chief Declan Kidney praised his side's resilience by saying: "You can't coach it but the boys have a massive desire to fight to the end and I thought we had a squad that would finish well.

The former Ireland coach added: "In the middle third of the game, we lost our way and with five minutes to go, I would have bitten your hand off if you had offered me a draw."

jdg/iwd

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting