Premiership: Northampton Saints 15-20 Wasps

Ken Pisi
Northampton winger Ken Pisi could find no way through the Wasps defence on his 100th club appearance
Northampton (5) 15
Tries: North, Kessell Con: Myler Pen: Myler
Wasps (10) 20
Tries: Gopperth, Bassett Cons: Gopperth 2 Pens: Gopperth 2

Wasps made it four wins from their opening four games to go top of the Premiership with victory against Northampton.

George North's second-minute try had given Saints the perfect start, but Wasps weathered an early onslaught.

Jimmy Gopperth put them ahead from a superb breakaway try fashioned by the quick-thinking of Danny Cipriani.

Northampton fought back to trail 13-12 through Tom Kessell's try before a decisive late score by Josh Bassett.

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Victory moved Wasps three points clear at the top of the table after champions Saracens lost 17-10 at Harlequins.

But the opening stages belonged to the hosts as North crossed in the corner from Ben Foden's offload within 90 seconds to finish a crisp attack from a line-out.

Dai Young's Wasps side withstood further pressure before taking the lead with a counter-attacking score.

Cipriani, making his 100th appearance for Wasps soon after his return to the club after spells at Melbourne Rebels and Sale Sharks, countered from inside his own 22 when he was fed by Joe Simpson from a retreating scrum.

The fly-half regained his precise grubber kick and found support from Guy Thompson, and the flanker's pass freed Gopperth to run under the posts from halfway, eluding North on the way.

Gopperth's boot then stretched the lead to 13-5 approaching the hour mark, and Northampton were their own worst enemies as they tried to fight back, with a series of handling errors killing their momentum every time they looked threatening.

REACTION: Wasps director of rugby Dai Young speaks to BBC Coventry and Warwickshire

However, they kept coming and Wasps had to endure a nervy last five minutes after Nathan Hughes was sin-binned for dragging down a Northampton maul.

Kessell pounced immediately to score and Stephen Myler's conversion brought the game to within a point.

But Saints were let down by their handling yet again and when Wasps pounced on a loose ball visiting scrum-half Dan Robson kicked ahead and winger Bassett out-paced Harry Mallinder to score.

Ken Pisi was shown a yellow card for a tripping the scrum-half as he chased his kick, but with both men down to 14 men Myler's late penalty ensured Northampton at least took a losing bonus point.

Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder:

"We just have to be a bit more accurate. We had lots of chances to win that game but sometimes that's life.

"You've got to dust yourself down and get back into it which we'll do and we'll come out fighting against Exeter."

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young:

"I said to the players, we rode our luck today without a shadow of a doubt.

"We won that game today on sheer heart and togetherness. We found a way to win.

"I'm really pleased because we were under pressure for big parts of that game today. I thought we showed a real attitude and a fight."

Northampton: Foden; K Pisi, G Pisi, Mallinder, North; Myler, Groom; Waller, Haywood, Brookes, Lawes, Dickinson, Wood (capt), Gibson, Picamoles.

Replacements: Clare, Ma'afu, Hill, Paterson, Harrison, Kessell, Hutchinson, Tuala.

Wasps: Miller; Wade, Daly, Gopperth, Bassett; Cipriani, Simpson; Mullan, Taylor, Cooper-Woolley, Symons, Gaskell (capt), Jones, Thompson, Hughes.

Replacements: Johnson, McIntyre, Moore, Myall, Young, Robson, Eastmond, De Luca.

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