Aviva Premiership round-up: Wasps fight back to defeat Exeter Chiefs 25-20 in Coventry

Aviva Premiership round-up: Wasps fight back to defeat Exeter Chiefs 25-20 in Coventry

Wasps made a good start to the new Aviva Premiership season, defeating Exeter 25-20 at the Ricoh Arena

Tom Hiscott

In the final Aviva Premiership game of the opening weekend, Wasps fought back from a nine-point deficit at half-time to beat the Exeter Chiefs 25-20 at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry

Having splashed the cash over the summer, expectations are high for the midlands club, although injuries did not allow for Kurtley Beale, Kyle Eastmond or Willie le Roux to make their debuts as the season got underway.

Another of their off-season acquisitions, Danny Cipriani, made his second debut for the club, slotting in at ten, but it was Jimmy Gopperth who made the biggest impact scoring 15 points in the victory. 

Waldrom barrels over in routine fashion as Chiefs build impressive first-half lead

From the first whistle, Exeter flew out of the traps and from a penalty in the 22', they booted for the corner to set up a driving maul.

Just like their meetings last season, Wasps were unable to repel said drive, and the leading scorer from the previous two seasons, Thomas Waldrom picked up where he left off with a five-pointer in the third minute. 

After Henry Slade had pushed the Chiefs lead out to ten via a conversion and penalty, Wasps finally found space on the outside and scored their first try of the afternoon through Gopperth following an excellent final pass from Dan Robson.

Unfortunately for the home side, they spilled the resulting kick-off and a break down the left-wing ended with scrum-half Will Chudley touching down under the posts to push the lead out to nine points as the half-time whistle went. 

Robson and Taylor cross for tries as Wasps secure opening-day win

Slade added another penalty to extend Exeter's advantage, before an excellent run by Christian Wade was followed by a perfectly-timed pass to Robson who cantered over under the sticks for Wasps second score. 

Dan Robson scores Wasps second try (image source: Stephen White/CameraSport via Getty Images)

One of Wasps most unheralded and potentially underrated signings this off-season has seem them increase the production-line from Sale, this time in the form of hooker Tommy Taylor

The abrasive front-rower made his England debut last May in the win over Wales at Twickenham, and in his first game for the Coventry-based club he turned out to be the match-winner after rumbling over from the back of a maul 15 minutes from time. 

Gopperth added the tough conversion and then a 79th minute penalty as Wasps completed their comeback, eventually triumphing 25-20. 

Saracens top pile after hard-fought opening weekend

The Premierships return started with Gloucester's collapse at home to Leicester on Friday night, on the same evening as Newcastle's home win over Sale.

Saturday then saw three fixtures take place, with Bath impressing under new head-coach Todd Blackadder in their 18-14 win over the Northampton Saints. The first win for the West Country outfit at Franklin's Gardens in 16 years came thanks to an 18-point haul from George Ford, which included two drop-goals. 

George Ford in action against Northampton (image source: Pete Norton/Getty Images)

At Twickenham, champions Saracens turned on the style in the second-half, with tries from Jamie George, Alex Lozowski, Schalk Burger and Ben Spencer helping them see off Worcester 35-3 in the only fixture not decided by seven points or less. 

The second part of the double-header at HQ saw Marland Yarde and Joe Marchant touch down as Harlequins beat new-boys Bristol 21-19 in an entertaining encounter.