London Irish in 42-42 draw with Wasps | Sunday Observer

London Irish in 42-42 draw with Wasps

8 May, 2022
Henry Arundell
Henry Arundell

London Irish came from 25 points down to earn a record-breaking fifth Premiership draw (42-42) of the season with a last-gasp penalty try against Wasps.

Trailing 39-14 after 67 minutes, Tom Pearson, Henry Arundell and Ollie-Hassell Collins scored before a penalty try was given for a maul infringement.

Wasps had the ball on the hooter when leading but could not find touch. The result all-but ends the visitors’ play-off hopes, with both sides still batting for a Champions Cup place.

It keeps Lee Blackett’s side ninth, eight points behind fourth-placed Northampton with two games left, and a point adrift of London Irish with a game in hand.

Wasps went ahead in the 14th minute with their first venture into the hosts’ 22, Gabriel Oghre seeming to get the ball down from a rolling maul.

Pearson’s skilful offload led to Kyle Rowe running in to level for the Exiles, who went 14-7 up when Benhard van Rensburg’s chip found Hassell-Collins, who in turn fed Tom Parton to dart over. A see-saw first half ended in favour of the Coventry-based club, Dan Robson the orchestrator as he whipped a pass for Francois Hougaard to slide in for a try before finding the blindside run of Charlie Atkinson for a further score.

And when Malakai Fekitoa drew his man and found Hougaard to jog in for his second, and Josh Bassett cleverly delayed his pass before passing to Zach Kibirige for an easy finish, it looked like Wasps were strolling to a bonus-point win in West London. However, Pearson led the Irish driving maul over for a try and the introduction of 19-year-old Arundell, in front of watching England head coach Eddie Jones, changed the game.

First, the full-back pulled off an excellent kick and chase, getting the better of a collision with Charlie Atkinson to run through and score, before showing composure to find Hassell-Collins, who went over to put the hosts within four points.

When Jacob Umaga converted a penalty in the final minute to put Wasps 42-35 up, and the hosts failed to win the ball from the restart, it looked like the comeback would fall short. (BBC Sport)