Aviva Premiership: Wasps hold off Gloucester in a thriller
Last Updated: 17/02/13 3:42pm
Wasps cemented their position in the Aviva Premiership play-off places with an entertaining 33-29 victory over Gloucester at Adams Park.
The visitors outscored their rivals by four tries to three, although two came in the dying minutes when victory was out of reach, and four missed penalties proved their undoing.
Gloucester twice went in front, firstly when Dan Robson crashed over and then when Mike Tindall crossed early in the second half.
But Wasps pulled away after Christian Wade and Billy Vunipola scored in the space of 10 minutes, and at 33-17 the Londoners were eyeing a bonus-point try.
However, it was Gloucester who raliied with Ryan Mills and Charlie Sharples both crossing, although Wasps closed out the match to collect the bulk of points to stay in fourth, a place ahead of one of their main rivals for a play-off spot.
The visitors dominated the opening spell although Rob Cook was unable to convert an early shot at goal, but flanker Akapusi Qera burst away from a maul on halfway to race 40 metres and send Robson in for a try, with Cook adding the two.
Stephen Jones kicked a three-pointer at the other end on his return to the Wasps starting line-up and it gave the hosts a platform that they built on through Ashley Johnson's try, with Jones converting.
Cook responded with a penalty before Jones missed a sitter, and then Mills hit the post from inside his own half before Jones gave Wasps a 13-10 half-time lead.
Cook missed badly again on the resumption but the visitors were deservedly back in front when Tindall brushed aside some weak tackling to go over, Cook adding the extras.
Jones reduced the arrears with the boot before winger Wade took a high pass and squeezed in at the corner on the hour, Jones again converting before being replaced by Nick Robinson.
Cook was also removed after missing another kickable opportunity and Gloucester appeared demoralised before Vunipola smashed past two tackles from a scrum 15 metres out for the decisive try, which Robinson converted before adding a penalty.
The visitors staged a commendable late rally with two tries in the last five minutes, one from Mills and the other from Sharples, with Tindall converting one to give them two valuable bonus points.