Wasps 9-8 Newcastle: Jimmy Gopperth edges Wasps to narrow win against his former club
Wasps edge to narrow 9-8 win against Newcastle at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday
A single penalty each from Jimmy Gopperth and Andy Goode meant the sides were drawing 3-3 at the break
Nili Latu’s try gave the Falcons a narrow lead heading into the closing stages
Former Newcastle man Gopperth though kept his composure to win it for Wasps
Jimmy Gopperth slotted three penalties against his former club Newcastle as Wasps edged to a narrow Aviva Premiership victory at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday.
A forgettable first half saw the two sides go into the break level at 3-3 with Jimmy Gopperth and Andy Goode slotting a penalty each during the opening 40.
The second half was more open as Christian Wade was denied a try for offside before Nili Latu scored for Newcastle.
This could have given the Falcons a platform to go on and win the match but profligate kicking from Goode was their downfall as Gopperth landed two penalties in the final quarter to secure the win for Wasps.
The defeat continues what has been a disappointing season for Newcastle as they now sit in eleventh place in the Premiership table following the match.
Wasps, meanwhile arrest a poor run of form and rise to fifth place in the table, five points behind Harlequins in fourth.
The Falcons, who came into the clash on the back of a great home win against Harlequins, played well in the opening 20 minutes but fell behinds when ex-Newcastle man Jimmy Gopperth knocked over a penalty for the first points of the day.
Andy Goode, who was also facing his former side, brought the Tynesiders level soon after with a sweetly struck penalty, which is how the game stayed heading into half-time, 3-3.
The Falcons, who ended the second half the better side, took the lead three minutes after the restart through Latu. The Tongan international profited from a powerful lineout drive, detaching from the pack to touch down.
Newcastle though were reduced to 14 men as winger Giovanbattista Venditti was shown a yellow card for an infringement at the breakdown with Gopperth kicking the resulting penalty, 6-8.
In the closing stages Gopperth missed an opportunity to put Wasps into the lead, missing a penalty from 40 metres out.
He did, however, have a second opportunity to put his side into the lead, which he did not spurn as he put the hosts into a 9-8 lead.
Right at the death, Newcastle had Goode in the pocket waiting for a drop-kick attempt, but Venditti knocked on as the ball came loose and Wasps saw the ball dead to earn victory.
Wasps: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Brendan Macken, 12 James Downey, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Jimmy Gopperth (c), 9 Dan Robson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Alex Rieder, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 James Gaskell, 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Edd Shervington, 1 Simon McIntyre.
Replacements: 16 Ashley Johnson, 17 Matt Mullan, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 James Cannon, 20 George Smith, 21 Jamie Stevenson, 22 Ruaridh Jackson, 23 Siale Piutau
Newcastle: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Alex Tait, 13 Adam Powell, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Michael Young, 8 Ally Hogg, 7 Nili Latu, 6 Will Welch (c), 5 Sean Robinson, 4 Mark Wilson, 3 Taione Vea, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Rob Vickers.
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Alex Rogers, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Richard Mayhew, Sonatane Takulua, 22 Craig Willis, 23 Marcus Watson
Date: Saturday, February 6
Venue: Ricoh Arena
Kick-off: 14:00 GMT
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant Referees: Gareth Copsey, Andy Watson