Walder’s boot prevents Irish from going top

THE RELIABLE boot of Dave Walder provided 18 points as Wasps came from behind to beat London Irish 33-25 and prevent the Exiles from returning to the top of the Premiership.

Irish kept fighting and scored a third try in the 78th minute through Paulica Ion to seemingly snatch a losing bonus point, only for Walder to deny them with a last-minute penalty.

London Irish rugby director Toby Booth admitted he was shocked by his team’s failure to return to the top of the table.

Booth said: “I am absolutely flabbergasted. I cannot believe we played like that and came away without even a bonus point. We were three times five metres off their line yet came away with nothing.”

Elsewhere, second-half tries by Kameli Ratuvou and debutant James Short helped Saracens to a 17-13 win at Bath. A sixth win in eight league games moves Brendan Venter’s side into third in the Premiership.

“I’m delighted,” said Mark McCall, the Saracens coach. “We stuck in there and played some really great rugby. I thought we deserved to win, though it was a tough battle.”

Finally, Newcastle had Jimmy Gopperth to thank for their 12-6 win – only their second of the season – over Gloucester. The Kiwi kicked all of his side’s points.