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Dublin: 22 °C Tuesday 4 August, 2020

Jimmy Gopperth's exceptional form continues as he puts former team to the sword

But there was concern for Marty Moore as he appeared to suffer a serious neck injury.

Gopperth scored Wasps' fourth try.
Gopperth scored Wasps' fourth try.
Image: David Davies

A SUBLIME DISPLAY by New Zealand fly-half Jimmy Gopperth propelled an out of sorts Wasps to a 31-6 defeat of his former club Newcastle in their English Premiership clash on Sunday.

The 33-year-old former Leinster playmaker scored two tries in his 21 points as Wasps kept the pressure on leaders and champions Saracens — they are a point behind the only side to have beaten them this season after seven matches.

Wasps, though, lost Irish international prop Marty Moore to what looked like a serious neck injury in the first-half.

At the other end of the table, Bristol lost 31-13 to Sale — their seventh defeat in seven Premiership matches on what is turning out to be a humiliating return to the top tier.

Making things worse for the bottom side is they lost former Wales star Gavin Henson to injury, the 34-year-old — who had already missed several matches earlier in the campaign because of a leg injury — going off after just 12 minutes after falling on his shoulder.

The day’s other game saw last season’s Premiership finalists Exeter lose in the last minute to Bath in a low scoring West country derby.

Wasps v Newcastle - Aviva Premiership - Ricoh Arena Source: David Davies

Fiji-born England international wing Semesa Rokoduguni shrugged off two tacklers to touch down with England fly-half George Ford converting to give the visitors a 13-10 victory.

“I think that’s why we love sport, isn’t it?” Bath’s head coach Todd Blackadder told BT Sport after the last minute dramatics.

“We had a lot of belief throughout that game — it just shows the commitment and belief within the team.

“I’m just so pleased for the players — to see them grind it out and go through some real ‘can’t we can we’,” added the 45-year-old former All Black skipper.

His Exeter counterpart Rob Baxter was gracious in defeat.

“It was a tough old finish for us really, but I think great credit to Bath — I think they just edged that resilience battle,” he told BT Sport.

“We’re in an interesting position now — these games are going to have a different connotation for us now.

“Games that go on one decision are always hard to take, but I don’t want to look for excuses, I want to look at ourselves.”

Reigning English and European champions Saracens strengthened their grip on top spot in the Premiership ahead of the end-of-year internationals with a 24-10 win at home to Leicester on Saturday.

Yet despite dominating the match, the north London side failed to secure any bonus points — much to the frustration of coach Mark McCall.

“The half-time score of 17-3 was about right, but when we got to 24-3 we were really sloppy,” said McCall.

“It’s a big lesson for us because we didn’t get the job done that we wanted to. We spent the last 15-20 minutes defending which is not what we wanted to do.”

© AFP 2016

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