A LOSING bonus point has been described as a potentially “vital” one by Wasps head coach Lee Blackett, following a 40-24 defeat to Gloucester at Kingsholm.
Wasps were soundly beaten en route to a first loss this term on matchday two against the Billy Twelvetrees (20 points) inspired hosts.
And while there was no doubting that the final outcome was a fair reflection of proceedings, the Wasps chief was nonetheless willing to take a positive outlook on Saturday afternoon’s humbling in the South West.
“The only pleasing aspect of the game was our character and fight at the end to get ourselves a losing bonus point,” said Blackett.
“It may not seem much at this stage, but it may turn out to be vital at the end of the season.”
There were words of praise for two individuals from the travelling side, with Paolo Odogwu and Alfie Barbeary both receiving positive acclaim from their head coach.
“Paolo has really impressed in training and so deserved his opportunity,” Blackett continued.
“We threw him on early and he made a difference.
“Alfie again impressed, his ball-carrying was excellent and I’m pleased with him, but there is still plenty for him to improve on.”
It was an afternoon in which Wasps lost sight of their run of five consecutive away wins, falling behind to a Twelvetrees penalty before Michael Le Bourgeois hauled his side in front with an unconverted try.
Twelvetrees was at it again to strike a second penalty between the posts, before adding the finishing touches to Jack Singleton’s score to put Gloucester 13-5 up at half-time.
In similar fashion to the opening period, Twelvetrees smashed home a penalty to edge the hosts further in front, before Barbeary replies with a try converted by Jimmy Gopperth.
But from there, the hosts ran riot, scoring without reply through Matt Garvey, Joe Simpson, Jason Woodward and Twelvetrees – two of which were converted by the latter – to put Gloucester well in front at 40-12.
With defeat all but confirmed, credit must go to Odogwu for the manner in which the replacement winger battled on in search of points for the visitors – going over from close range before powering his way through the Gloucester rearguard late on.
Wasps slip to ninth in the Gallagher Premiership table, albeit at this early stage of the season, and target an immediate fightback when hosting Newcastle Falcons – who won both of their opening matches – on Saturday (3pm).
However, with Coventry set to enter Tier 3 after Wednesday’s lockdown restrictions are lifted, fans will still be absent from the Ricoh Arena for the time being.
Wasps Group CEO Stephen Vaughan says the club will be ready to re-admit fans when more lenient restrictions for the area allow.
“Whilst we are keen to welcome back ours fans as soon as possible, the welfare of the general public must come first,” he said.
“The club has worked in partnership with the local authorities to put in place extensive procedures which have already allowed us to deliver numerous matches in a COVID-secure manner in line with the latest guidance.
“When the time comes for us to re-open the doors to our supporters, we will be ready.”