Willie’s Wasps sneak into final

Josh Bassett scored a 78th-minute try to hand Wasps a riveting 21-20 Premiership semi-final victory against the Leicester Tigers in Coventry on Saturday.

Wasps finished top of the standings after the round-robin stage, but had to work hard to advance to their first Premiership final in nine years.

The hosts opened the scoring with a Jimmy Gopperth penalty, before a wonderful backline move saw wing Willie le Roux throw a magical inside pass for Kurtley Beale to score.

The Tigers took the lead with two Freddie Burns penalties and a try by Peter Betham, but a second Wasps penalty locked the scores up at 13-13.

Leicester started to dominated ball possession and had the upper hand in the forward battle, so when Wasps won a penalty, Gopperth took the three points.

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The Tigers dominated the third quarter of the match and Wasps the fourth.

The visitors regained the ascendancy when fullback Telusa Veainu crossed the tryline after Owen Williams had intercepted the ball.

The tide turned in Wasps' favour, but for all their territorial dominance and attacking endeavors, the hosts couldn’t erase the four-point deficit.

Coach Dai Young then made a couple of changes and it did the trick as Bassett eventually breached Leicester’s resistant defence to score the winning try.

Wasps will face the Exeter Chiefs in the final next Saturday. 

Wasps – Tries: Kurtley Beale, Josh Bassett. Conversion: Jimmy Gopperth. Penalties: Gopperth (3).
Leicester Tigers – Tries: Peter Betham, Telusa Veainu. Conversions: Freddie Burns (2). Penalties: Burns (2).

Wasps – 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Jimmy Gopperth, 11 Willie Le Roux, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Thomas Young, 6 James Haskell, 5 Matt Symons, 4 Joe Launchbury (c), 3 Phil Swainston, 2 Ashley Johnson, 1 Matt Mullan.
Subs: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Marty Moore, 19 James Gaskell, 20 Guy Thompson, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Alapati Leiua, 23 Josh Bassett.

Leicester Tigers – 15 Telusa Veainu, 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Mathew Tait, 12 Owen Williams, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Luke Hamilton, 7 Brendon O’Connor, 6 Mike Fitzgerald, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Dom Barrow, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs (c), 1 Ellis Genge.
Subs: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Greg Bateman, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Mike Williams, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Jack Roberts, 23 Matt Smith.

Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

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Mariette Adams