Premiership: Leicester 24-16 Wasps

By Ged ScottBBC Sport at Welford Road
Telusa Veainu
Leicester's Telusa Veainu dives over to score his side's second try against Wasps
Leicester Tigers (13) 24
Tries: Goneva, Veainu Con: Williams Pens: Williams 4
Wasps (9) 16
Try: Cittadini Con: Jackson Pens: Gopperth 2, Daly
Relive Sunday's Premiership rugby

Leicester maintained their winning start to the Premiership season with a comfortable 'derby' win over Wasps.

Tigers wing Vereniki Goneva showed pace and power for his solo first-half try.

Tonga international Telusa Veainu then crossed after Wasps were down to 14 men following Jimmy Gopperth's yellow card.

After first-half penalties for Gopperth (2) and Elliot Daly, Wasps' only reply was a late try for Italian Lorenzo Cittadini, while Tigers' Owen Williams earned a 14-point individual haul.

Leicester's victory followed their opening weekend win at London Irish, followed by last Sunday's narrow win at home to Harlequins.

But, once they scored in the right corner after Gopperth had gone off for his late hit on home skipper Mathew Tait, followed by Williams' fourth successful penalty, their third straight win looked a formality.

Wasps did score late on in the left corner through Cittadini, full-back Ruaridh Jackson adding the extras to only their third try of the season. But it was not enough to put an end to their poor away record.

Dai Young's side had recovered from their narrow opening weekend 26-21 bonus-point defeat by Harlequins to beat Bath 16-9 at the Ricoh Arena, largely down to the boot of Gopperth.

But Leicester, who had England prop Dan Cole making his first start of the new campaign following the Rugby World Cup, ran out worthy winners of this first M69 derby at Welford Road against their still relatively new Coventry neighbours.

Tigers were deprived of prop Logovi'i Mulipola, who failed a late fitness test on the knee injury he sustained against Quins.

Wasps were hampered by the early loss of their vice-captain, prop Matt Mullan, with a hamstring injury. They lost another forward Nathan Hughes late on with what boss Dai Young described as "a bang on the knee".

Fortress Welford Road

Richard Cockerill's Tigers are unbeaten at Welford Road in the league in over a year, having won their last nine Premiership games on home soil.

Wasps' only away league win in seven attempts since the turn of the year was at last season's Premiership fall guys London Welsh in April - but Dai Young's side have twice drawn in that time at London Irish and Newcastle.

Goneva's wing magic

Vereniki Goneva of Leicester Tigers
Vereniki Goneva played for Fiji at this year's Rugby World Cup

Goneva had already returned to club action a week ago, but it was the Fiji winger who helped give the first day of post-World Cup domestic rugby such an explosive start.

After scoring one of the tries of the tournament at Cardiff in Fiji's narrow defeat by Wales, Goneva showed he has lost none of his attacking inclination.

After creating a great platform with a superb solo break off his wing down the right, Leicester then cashed in when, back on his correct left wing, Goneva weaved his way over the line to score the try of the game.

Gopperth's moment of madness

Gopperth can consider himself lucky if he does not hear from the Rugby Football Union disciplinary team this week - after getting a yellow card and not a red for his late challenge on home full-back Mathew Tait.

From his on-field body language, Gopperth's defence clearly seemed to be that he was running blind in pursuit of his own high ball.

But, judged by the video replay seen by the press box and the vast majority of perplexed Tigers fans watching on the big screen, there seemed little doubt to almost all present that he took a quick look ahead of him before appearing to rabbit punch the side of Tait's head.

Had referee Tim Wigglesworth seen that, then it is likely that he may have doubled the punishment.

Leicester Tigers boss Richard Cockerill told BBC Radio Leicester:

"We controlled the game well. It was an improvement on last week and overall a pleasing performance. Any side you can knock off around you is always good.

"It's great that we're winning when we're still not at full strength. We've still got people to come in.

"Jean De Villiers arrives in the next few weeks and we still have Brendon O'Connor to come in and Ben Youngs to bring back. But we won't get ahead of ourselves. It's only round three."

Wasps boss Dai Young told BBC Coventry & Warwickshire:

"We were beaten by the better side. They put us under pressure and forced too many errors from us.

"That's now two disappointing away performances and we're not quite clicking in attack.

"We've only scored three tries and we don't look as threatening as we did last year. We've got a lot of work to do."

Leicester Tigers: Tait (capt); Thompstone, Betham, Smith, Goneva; Williams, Harrison; Balmain, Youngs, Cole, Williams, Fitzgerald, Croft, McCaffrey, Fonua

Replacements: Bateman, Mulipola, Pasquali, Barrow, Crane, Kitto, Bai, Veainu

Wasps: Jackson; Wade, Daly, Downey, Halai; Gopperth, Robson; Mullan, Festuccia, Cooper-Woolley, Launchbury, Myall, Haskell (capt), Smith, Hughes.

Replacements: Johnson, Bristow, Cittadini, Davies, Thompson, Jones, Lozowski, Tagicakibau.

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