- Gallagher Premiership
- Sunday, November 22nd 2020
- Ricoh Arena
Will Carpenter reports from Ricoh Arena
Report: Wasps 23-20 Bristol Bears
Sunday, November 22nd 2020
A late try from Tom Willis saw Wasps snatch a last-gasp victory on a dramatic afternoon at the Ricoh Arena.
Siale Piutau’s try six minutes from time had edged Pat Lam’s side into a four-point lead heading into the closing stages, before Willis’ intervention, rounding off a sweeping Wasps attack down the left-hand side with 90 seconds remaining, proved the decisive moment in a repeat of last season’s semi-final.
Bristol had trailed 9-3 early in the second half, but Harry Randall’s sniping score and a second Sam Bedlow penalty turned the tables midway through the second half.
Jack Willis burrowed his way to the line nine minutes from time to edge the home side in front once again, before Piutau’s score following another quickly taken penalty by Randall, put the Bears back in the driving seat.
But after turning the ball over just inside the visitors’ half, Wasps broke down the left, leaving Willis to run in the match-winning try and the Bears with a losing bonus point to show for their significant efforts in Coventry.
In a scrappy opening period, Bristol took the lead on nine minutes courtesy of long-range penalty from Sam Bedlow.
Jimmy Gopperth levelled things up shortly after, before Josh Bassett saw his try chalked off for a forward pass in the build-up.
Gopperth’s second penalty sent Wasps into the half-time break with a three-point lead, while his third early in the second period further extended the lead.
But back came the Bears, fizzing from left to right through Leiua, whose powerful surge into the Wasps 22 saw Juan de Jongh sent to the sin bin for a cynical offside.
The pressure began to pay, and from another penalty, Randall’s quick tap penalty caught Wasps napping, as the scrum half dived under a pile of bodies to score the opening try of the season.
Bedlow’s conversion and a second long-range penalty made it 9-13, only for Jack Willis to burrow his way to the line to give Wasps the advantage with nine minutes left on the clock.
At the other end, Randall capitalised on another infringement with a quickly-taken penalty, and Heenan located Piutau for the skipper to dive over and bag the Bears’ second.
But as they had done at Ashton Gate in December, Wasps left it late to land the killer blow, as Willis cantered over to snatch a dramatic victory.
Bristol Bears: O’Conor; Adeolokun (Fricker 64), Leiua, S Piutau (c), Purdy; Bedlow, Randall; Y Thomas (Woolmore 52), Byrne (Capon 68), Afoa, Holmes, Joyce (Dun 64), Vui, D Thomas, Heenan.
System players: Capon, Woolmore, Armstrong, Hawkins, Dun, Kessell, Wilstead, Fricker.
Wasps: Sopoaga, Kibirige, de Jongh, Gopperth, Bassett, Umaga, Vellacott; McIntyre, Taylor, Brookes, Cardall, Gaskell, Willis, Young, Shields.
Replacements: Cruse, West, Toomaga-Allen, Douglas, Barbeary, Willis, Wolstenholme, Odogwu
Wasps: Tries: J Willis 71, T Willis 78. Cons: Gopperth 71, 78. Pens: Gopperth 18, 33, 45. Yellow: de Jongh 47
Bristol Bears: Tries: Randall 52, S Piutau 74. Cons: Bedlow 52, 74. Pens: Bedlow 9, 67
Another sickener for the Bears.
Having battled back to take a four-point lead in the closing stages, Tom Willis touched down under the posts to seal the win for Wasps in a harum-scarum Gallagher Premiership clash.
Pat Lam reaction
Man of the match: Harry Randall
Snappy, sharp and very dangerous - Harry Randall was in sensational form at the Ricoh Arena.
The scrum half scored one and created another as the Bears clawed their way back into the game, in another eye-catching display from the number nine.
- Willis, Willis
- Gopperth (2)
- Gopperth (3)
- Yellow Cards:
- De Jongh
- Piutau, Randall
- Bedlow (2)
- Bedlow (2)
- Yellow Cards: