WASPS boss Dai Young lavished praise on unheralded front row forwards Matt Mullan, Carlo Festuccia and Lorenzo Cittadini after the home side’s scrummaging strength proved the catalyst for victory against an ill-disciplined Bath at Adams Park.
Former England fly-half Andy Goode kicked 16 points as a penalty try added to Sailosi Tagicakibau’s touchdown, while a long-range Elliot Daly penalty gave Wasps a commanding 29-0 lead deep into the second half.
Bath were reduced to 12 men at one stage but stormed back and initiated an unlikely late comeback as tries from Jonathan Joseph, David Young and David Sisi, together with a George Ford penalty, ultimately secured a losing a bonus point.
And at the end of a turbulent week where the news of the club’s move to Coventry in December sparked supporter unrest, Young reserved a special mention for the season-best crowd, which totalled 7,397, at Adams Park.
“I thought our front row were outstanding,” said Young. “The back row were very good and will have grabbed the headlines but it was all built on a very good foundation from the front row. For 65 minutes I thought we were outstanding, we delivered everything we talked about.
“There was a lot of disappointment and frustration out there in the early part of this week but once we had the chance to explain the facts we won a lot of people over. The big thing for everyone involved with the club is Wasps is still here in 10 years time.”
A Samu Manoa hat-trick ensured reigning champions Northampton Saints remain top of the Premiership following a 43-10 victory over Sale on Saturday, with Saracens second after grinding out a 28-21 win against Gloucester.
Back row Blair Cowan scored two tries to add respectability to the scoreline as London Irish went down 44-24 at Exeter Chiefs while London Welsh lost 23-3 to fellow relegation candidates Newcastle Falcons.
A late Karl Dickson try ensured a nervy finale but failed to prevent Harlequins slipping to defeat against injury-hit Leicester on Friday, which in turn ended the Welford Road club’s three-match losing streak.