Premiership: Wasps 26-20 Northampton Saints – Zach Kibirige and Dan Robson tries earn hosts derby spoils

Zach Kibirige
Zach Kibirige marked his 50th appearance for Wasps with their opening try
Wasps (10) 26
Tries: Kibirige, Robson Cons: Umaga 2 Pens: Umaga 2, Gopperth 2
Northampton (10) 20
Tries: Matavesi, Ludlam, Fish Con: Biggar Pen: Biggar

Wasps ended Northampton’s unbeaten start to the season with a 26-20 win in a pulsating derby at Coventry.

Sam Matavesi’s try put Saints ahead, but Zach Kibirige levelled before Dan Biggar and Jacob Umaga traded penalties as a tight first half ended 10-10.

Umaga booted Wasps ahead for the first time before Thomas Young’s offload put Dan Robson over to make it 20-10.

Lewis Ludlam cut the gap, but two Jimmy Gopperth penalties sealed the win despite James Fish’s last-gasp score.

Fish’s try at least gave Northampton a losing bonus point their first-half display warranted, but they ended the weekend in third, while Wasps’ second win from three this season moved them up to fifth.

Saints dominated territory and possession in a frantic end-to-end opening quarter, and were rewarded by Matavesi, sent clear by a fine line break and offload from number eight Juarno Augustus.

Yet Wasps were soon level with a try out of nothing, Gabriel Oghre’s dummy sending Dan Robson sprinting clear to allow Kibirige to mark his 50th Wasps appearance with a score.

The Wasps’ penalty count climbed, but they clawed their way back into the match and almost went ahead when Sam Spink was hauled down just short by Augustus.

As the game became punctuated by infringements and mistakes, Umaga cancelled out Biggar’s penalty and then missed a kick from 30m on the stroke of half-time.

Wasps then had Vaea Fifita’s spectacular 70m score ruled out by the television match official shortly after half-time. But Umaga kicked the hosts ahead and Robson, set up by good work from the forwards and a fine dummy-then-pass from Thomas Young, gave the hosts breathing space.

Oghre’s yellow card for a high tackle with 18 minutes left looked telling when Saints made it 20-15 from the resulting penalty as Ludlam finished off a line-out catch and drive.

But in a complete contrast to the first half, it was Saints who lost their discipline, allowing second-half replacement Gopperth to step off the bench and ping two quick penalties to open up an ultimately decisive lead.

Wasps: Watson; Kibirige, Spink, Le Bourgeois, Bassett; Umaga, Robson; Harris, Cruse, Scholtz, Fifita, Stooke, Shields (capt), Young, T Willis.

Replacements: Oghre, Hislop, Toomaga-Allen, Gaskell, Carr, Porter, Gopperth, Crossdale.

Sin-bin: Oghre (62 mins).

Northampton: Furbank; Freeman, Proctor, Dingwall, Sleightholme; Biggar, Mitchell; Auterac, Matavesi, Hill, Ribbans, Ratuniyarawa, Lawes, Ludlam (capt), Augustus.

Replacements: Fish, Waller, Painter, Coles, Harrison, Lomani, Hutchinson, Moon.

Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys (RFU).

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