Two tries from Elliot Daly weren’t enough for Wasps as a depleted Leicester came through 16-15 at Welford Road.
Leicester took the lead after just two minutes, Graham Kitchener powering over the line after a destructive driving maul. Wasps were architects of their own downfall, after using up several phases from the kick-off, all the while failing to exit their 22. When Ford kicked to the corner from a penalty at the breakdown, Dai Young’s men found themselves with an early deficit.
Tigers’ back-line was beginning to purr, though a combination of Telusa Veainu and Sam Harrison failed to convert a 5 on 1 as Dan Robson made a stunning cover tackle.
It was the beginning of a horrific 90 seconds for Leicester, as Jonny May and Manu Tuilagi were both forced off injured. Tuilagi’s injury will worry Tigers DOR Matt O’Connor, as the 26 year old had been starting to find form, after seemingly putting his horrific recent injury record behind him.
Elliot Daly and Wasps managed to hit back only minutes later. Wade went on a mazy, lung-busting run into the Leicester 22, and his side found their way to the try-line despite Matt Toomua’s heroic defensive efforts.
It wasn’t long before Daly scored his second, capitalising on a free flank after Nick Malouf’s sin binning for a no-arms tackle on Christian Wade.
The attacking flair on show from both sides was coupled with a frustrating inaccuracy, both sides spurning great opportunities, though Dan Robson could’ve been forgiven for counting himself unlucky after Mathew Tait followed him down the wing to make a spectacular try-saving tackle.
The game continued to be littered by errors after the interval, and despite multiple opportunities, the second half remained try-less until the end.
But George Ford kept chipping away at the score-line, and eventually managed to put Leicester into the lead with only four minutes left on the clock.
It was a frustrating defeat for Wasps, who now find themselves 10 points behind league leaders Exeter. Their famous attacking game never quite got going, and Dai Young will be frustrated by a lack of a clinical edge.
Though they had to fight hard, Leicester’s victory now means they sit in fifth place, only three points off the play off positions. They too were unable to finish opportunities, but given the circumstances (back-line stars Tuilagi and Jonny May were both forced off inside 20 minutes), Matt O’Connor will be delighted with a battling victory.