05 MARCH 2019 | ROB SUTTON | 08:00
“So Far As The Playoffs Are Concerned – Rob Sutton Throws The Towel In At Welford Road!” Leicester 19 Wasps 14
Losing any close game is tough, but to lose a derby game in the manner Wasps did on Saturday is very tough to take. For the second year running, Wasps were unable to back up a home win over Leicester Tigers with one at Welford Road.
It was a controversial finish in Leicester too & Wasps could definitely feel hard done by with two disallowed tries that should have been awarded, particularly Biyi Alo’s “try” at the death in the second half after the clock had gone red.
For 40 minutes, Wasps were hugely positive. Marcus Watson filled the golden boots left by Christian Wade with two superb tries with stand in fly half Rob Miller pulling the strings. Jack Willis was also magnificent & had Wasps won, would surely have been man of the match.
However, Wasps’ achilles heel all season long has been their penalty count, 9 conceded in the first half at Welford Road alone. And ultimately it was this that kept Leicester in the match, coupled with a near faultless kicking performance from Joey Ford who took all Tigers chances on offer in the second half.
For much of the season we have bemoaned Wasps’ injury luck, but this weekend we faced a team with a winger at 9 & a flanker at 14! A team that is going to finish in the top 4 should really be winning games like this, but we didn’t & as a result, so far as the playoffs are concerned – I am throwing the towel in!
Harlequins are now 12 points ahead of Wasps in 3rd & despite Wasps being 5th & just 5 points off a playoff place, we have a daunting run in. Trips to Gloucester, Exeter & Bath as well as a home match against a full strength Saracens will be a touch ask. And when you’ve taken just 17 points from the last 10 matches, it is hard to see Wasps stringing a run together to make the playoffs. And with Leicester now snapping at our heels, it is going to be a fight to the finish for a top 6 place & European Champions Cup qualification come May, but this must be Wasps aim.
I will finish with a nod of the head to Joe Simpson, who made his 250th appearance for Wasps at Welford Road. He has been a rock at scrum half for the club through good times & bad & it will be very strange to see him playing for Gloucester next season. Simmo is the definition of “Once a Wasp, Always a Wasp” & I’m sure everyone will hope that he ends the season strongly.
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