Exeter suffer first league defeat of season at Wasps

James Gaskell scores a try for Wasps
James Gaskell’s two tries against Exeter were his first for Wasps in the Premiership this season
Wasps (8) 34
Tries: Gaskell 2, McIntyre 2, Sopoaga Cons: Sopoaga 3 Pen: Sopoaga
Exeter (0) 5
Try: Capstick

Wasps eased to a five-try bonus-point win as they handed reigning champions Exeter their first Premiership defeat of the 2020-21 campaign.

Exeter had picked a weakened side, allowing further rest for some of their now available international players.

But Wasps took advantage, James Gaskell and Simon McIntyre both crossing twice, while Lima Sopoaga also crossed to add to his nine points with the boot.

Richard Capstick, later yellow carded, got Exeter’s only try after the break.

Exeter were already deprived of injured Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg (hamstring) and lock Jannes Kirsten (facial injury).

But, even allowing for boss Rob Baxter’s decision not to play England quartet Luke Cowan-Dickie, Harry Williams, Jonny Hill and Henry Slade, and Scotland’s Jonny Gray and Sam Skinner, to concede five tries and be so well beaten was a shock – especially as Exeter had only shipped three tries in their first four league games this season.

The Ricoh Arena meeting of last year’s league winners and the beaten finalists came just 10 weeks on from the Chiefs’ narrow 19-13 Twickenham triumph.

Wasps prop Simon McIntyre
Two tries for Wasps replacement prop Simon McIntyre doubled his Premiership career try count from two to four in the space of just 16 minutes

But, just two weeks before the Premiership final, they were soundly beaten 46-5 at the Ricoh – and this was Exeter’s first defeat since then.

Wasps were without two injured players themselves, loose forward Alfie Barbeary (ankle) and wing Zach Kibirige (concussion protocol).

And, given the feared customary dominance of the Exeter pack, especially this season’s runaway top Premiership scorer, eight-try Sam Simmonds, it was a particularly memorable afternoon for two of the home forwards, who shared four of their five tries between them.

Flanker Gaskell’s two were his first for Wasps in the Premiership this season and, after just two tries in 123 previous league appearances for Wasps, McIntyre came off the bench to double his Premiership try count.

What is more he did it in the space of just 16 minutes after entering the fray just before Exeter were reduced to 14 men by young loose forward Capstick’s yellow card.

Wasps: Sopoaga; Odogwu, de Jongh, Le Bourgeois, Bassett; Umaga, Robson; West, Cruse, Brookes, Launchbury (capt), Rowlands, Gaskell, J Willis, T Willis.

Replacements: Taylor, McIntyre, Toomaga-Allen, Morris, Young, Porter, Atkinson, Gopperth.

Exeter: O’Flaherty; Woodburn, Hendrickson, Devoto, Whitten; J Simmonds, Hidalgo-Clyne; Hepburn, Yeandle (capt), Street, Witty, Armand, Ewers, Capstick, S Simmonds.

Replacements: Innard, Kenny, Francis, Price, Tuima, Maunder, H Skinner, Hodge.

Sin-bin: Capstick (67)

Referee: Ian Tempest.

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