Danny Cipriani’s Wasps return ended in victorious fashion at the Ricoh Arena yesterday after Exeter – Aviva Premiership runners-up last season – lost a healthy lead to suffer a 25-20 opening weekend defeat.
England international fly-half Cipriani, who made his first Premiership appearance for Wasps since May 2010 after rejoining them from Sale Sharks, had a solid, rather than spectacular afternoon, as Wasps fought back from 12 points adrift early in the second period.
Centre Jimmy Gopperth, scrum-half Dan Robson and hooker Tommy Taylor all scored tries for Wasps, while Gopperth added two conversions and two penalties for a 15-point haul to thwart the Chiefs.
Exeter bossed the opening 50 minutes, taking charge through touchdowns from No 8 Thomas Waldrom and scrum-half Will Chudley, with fly-half Henry Slade kicking ten points, but they were undone by Wasps’ strong final quarter display.
Wasps rugby director Dai Young believes that Cipriani can be “pretty pleased” with his return. “Danny was a little bit frustrated in the first half, because he didn’t have the options,” said Young. “But for his first hit-up back in the Wasps jersey, I think he can be pretty pleased. ”
Saracens began their title defence with a bonus-point 35-3 victory against Worcester at Twickenham on Saturday, with debutant Alex Lozowski scoring 20 points. The stand-off scored a try and kicked three penalties and three conversions, while Jamie George, Schalk Burger and Ben Spencer also touched down.
Harlequins opened with a victory – 21-19 – but they were made to work for it by Bristol, who led for most of the match. Nick Evans’ 65th-minute penalty put Quins in the driving seat and they managed to see it out.
At Franklin’s Gardens, Bath survived a late fightback against Northampton to seal an 18-14 win. George Ford kicked all Bath’s points, before the hosts hit back with a couple of Nic Groom tries.
Leicester and Newcastle were the other winners from the opening Premiership weekend, having beaten Gloucester and Sale respectively on Friday night.