This was something of a bizarre match played out mostly in torrential rain. It was error strewn, largely as a result of the wet conditions. Five tries were scored, all from no more than a couple of yards, but it had a highly dramatic ending.
Wasps ultimately won by 8 points yet it could have been so different and all those watching could not help but feel sorry for the gallant Irish. Indeed, as Dai Young said afterwards, his side did not deserve to win as London Irish had played the better rugby.
With five minutes to go, London Irish drove over for their second try of the match, a second rolling maul, to go one point behind, yet what followed was a disastrous 30 seconds for their replacement fly-half, Tommy Bell.
Bell, once a Wasp, had joined the match with half an hour to go. He made an immediate impact, his first touch a gliding side stepping run and he looked confident. As he stepped up to kick a very makeable conversion, it looked as though they were about to complete a remarkable turnaround and win the match.
After all, they had been 14 points behind after 55 minutes to tries by Wasps’ two shortest players, Tom Cruse, finishing off a rolling maul from a line out and Dan Robson sniping over from close range.
Not only did Bell pull his conversion to the left, his clearance kick from the resultant Wasps kick off was charged down by the onrushing Cruse and the Wasps hooker kicked on and dived over for the match winning score, his second try of the match and the Man of the Match award with it. Cipriani converted and Irish left without even a bonus point, cruel and hugely disappointing for them.
For Wasps, this was a slightly nervy staccato performance and they will be mightily relieved with the victory, which took them into second place. However, they will have to play much better than this to stay there.