Late comeback seals victory over Wasps
Edinburgh remain unbeaten in Europe as a pair of penalties from Jaco van der Walt secured a snatch and grab victory over Wasps at the Ricoh Arena this afternoon.
The English Premiership side had led until the 78th minute before the replacement stand-off stepped up to calmly stroke home for the go-ahead three-pointer.
The capital side had taken the lead through Simon Hickey’s first-half penalty, however Wasps scored through No.8 Nizaam Carr to make it 3-7 at the break.
Edinburgh turned the screw in the second-half however, and with impactful replacements such as Stuart McInally, Simon Berghan, Ben Toolis and Magnus Bradbury making the difference, they were worth winners come Van der Walt’s late strike.
The victory means Edinburgh remain just a point off the top of Challenge Cup Pool 3 – behind Bordeaux-Begles - with today’s win moving them up to 16 points.
In a competitive opening 10 minutes of action, Edinburgh had looked dangerous with James Johnstone and Bill Mata both making breaks into Wasps territory.
Simon Hickey was unlucky as he slipped in the run up to a penalty – which saw him miss wide – before the stand-off made no mistake minutes later to give his side the lead [0-3].
Wasps did well to retain possession for large spells of first-half and were at times only a slipped tackle away from racing in – however, the capital side defended well, with the likes of George Taylor and Darcy Graham doing excellently to scramble out wide.
Wasps did eventually break through – and it was No.8 Carr who opened the scoring for the home side.
After a half-break from Malakai Fekitoa, Carr was on hand to collect a nifty offload before racing under the sticks. Lima Sapaoga converted and the hosts were up 7-3 at the break.
Edinburgh began the second-half was an increased vigour, and with WP Nel off for Simon Berghan, looked to have the upper hand come scrum time.
With the squeeze on, Wasps were penalised at a scrum deep inside their own territory and as we looked to move it wide, impressive winger Jamie Farndale was only metres away from touching down in the corner.
With the cavalry on – in the shape of McInally, Toolis, Van der Walt and Bradbury – the capital side continue to dominate the breakdown and possession, however Wasps’ physiclaity kept Edinburgh’s attack largely at bay.
That was until Farndale hit a well-timed short ball which saw him race 50 metres only to be halted just shy of the Wasps whitewash. With Edinburgh looking to recycle quickly, the ball was shifted to Darcy Graham who’s pirouette into the corner saw him frustratingly step into touch.
Edinburgh were awarded the penalty however, and as Van der Walt stroked it home in the 71st minute, it was just a one-point game [7-6].
The capital side continued to press and with a raking penalty into Wasps territory, they had fantastic field position heading into the final 5 minutes.
With the ball shifted into midfield, the hosts were eventually penalised and Van der Walt was on hand to confidently boot over the match winning penalty. [7-9]
Wasps did regain possession in the final minutes, but Edinburgh’s defence – as it had been all afternoon – was up for the job at hand and as Mike Willemse pinched the ball, the capital side had secured a hard-earned four points on the road.
live commentary 3:00 PM Saturday 14 Dec 2019
Nic Groom9. Scrum half
Simon Hickey10. Flyhalf
Jamie Farndale11. Left Wing
George Taylor12. Inside Centre
James Johnstone13. Outside Centre
Darcy Graham14. Right Wing
Damien Hoyland15. Full Back
Rory Sutherland1. Loosehead
Mike Willemse2. Hooker
Willem Nel3. Tighthead
Sam Thomson4. Lock
Lewis Carmichael5. Lock
Jamie Ritchie6. Blindside Flanker
Hamish Watson7. Openside Flanker
Villame Mata8. Number 8