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Wasps battle back to win Premiership opener

Wasps overhauled a twelve point deficit to beat Exeter Chiefs 25-20 in their first match of the new Aviva Premiership season.

Credit: Daniel Hambury / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Debutant Tommy Taylor scored what proved to be the decisive try against last season’s beaten finalists and give Dai Young’s men a winning start at the Ricoh Arena.

The hosts were boosted by the return of Danny Cipriani who was beginning his second spell at the club but were without summer signings Kyle Eastmond and Australian star Kurtley Beale.

It was Exeter who made the perfect start to the contest with former Leicester Tigers forward Thomas Waldrom scoring after just two minutes and Henry Slade converting.

Slade and Wasps fly-half Jimmy Gopperth then traded penalties before Gopperth scored an excellent first try.

By half time the gap was back to nine though as scrum-half Will Chudley got Exeter’s second score and Slade again added the extras.

Another penalty from the Exeter and England kicker made it 20-8 ten minutes after the break.

But soon after Wasps began to work their way back into the game – Danny Cipriani and Christian Wade combined to allow Dan Robson to touch down.

The winning score then came from Wasps hooker Taylor, he capped a rolling maul and Gopperth converted as they edged two points ahead.

Slade missed a testing chance to put Exeter back in front, before Gopperth kicked his second penalty to confirm a fine victory for Wasps.

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Video: 'Funnel cloud' spotted in Rugby

Tornado-like funnel clouds formed in the sky as lightning storms hit Birmingham and the Midlands this afternoon.

The first huge spout was spotted above Rugby town centre in Warwickshire at around 1.25pm on Tuesday, though it is not believed it touched ground.

The astonishing sighting lasted around five minutes as it blew over the town before slowly disappearing. It was unclear if any damage was caused in the area.

A second smaller funnel was then spotted further east over Rugby a few minutes later before clearing away.

Although the skies were dark during the bizarre spectacle, there was little sign at the time of the kind of rain or thunder that caused chaos in Birmingham city centre.

Numerous roads were flooded with part of the M5 brought to a standstill due to surface water between junctions one and two, while trams, trains and buses were also disrupted as the region suffered another day of dramatic storms.

Five Wasps players take up long term contracts

Five players have committed their futures to Wasps with all having agreed long-term contract extensions.

Wasps' at an earlier match at the Ricoh Arena. Credit: Simon Cooper / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Jake Cooper-Woolley, James Gaskell, Alex Lundberg, Simon McIntyre and Will Rowlands have all signed the extended contracts.

It’s been couple of years of change at Wasps and, with the move of the training ground and playing staff to Coventry next season, we’re really pleased another five players have bought into the vision and are enjoying the direction the club is moving in.

Jake, James, Alex, Simon and Will are all at different stages of their development. But each of their games has come on significantly this season and, as young, talented players, they still have plenty of exciting potential to fulfil.

They will be looking to kick on with their careers and we’re very pleased they will be doing that in black and gold.

– Wasps’ Director of Rugby Dai Young

I’m very happy with how things have progressed for me personally here at Wasps, after being given the opportunity by Dai. It’s great to see now how the club is starting to become successful again, competing at the top end of the table and it feels like a great place to be.

– Jake Cooper-Woolley

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  1. Anglia

Jones has no concern over Hartley's fitness despite concussion

Eddie Jones (left) has backed Hartley (right) to be fit enough to lead England in Australia. Credit: PA

England head coach Eddie Jones says he has no concerns over Dylan Hartley's fitness - despite him missing much of the second-half of the season with concussion.

The Northampton Saints hooker was knocked out in the Six Nations Grand Slam decider against France in March.

Hartley only returned for the Saints' final game of the campaign earlier this month, but Jones has faith that he will be fine to lead England in their upcoming tour of Australia.

I’m not concerned by his lack of rugby.

He trained very well in Brighton (at the training camp). He was one of our best performers so he’ll be able to play against Wales and will hopefully get 50 or 60 minutes then he’ll be right for the first Test.

– Eddie Jones, England Head Coach

England take on Wales at Twickenham next weekend before heading over to Australia in June.

  1. Anglia

First England call-up for Northampton Saints flanker Harrison

Teimana Harrison will travel with the England squad to Australia. Credit: PA

Northampton Saints flanker Teimana Harrison has been called up to the England squad for the first time for next month's tour of Australia.

The 23-year-old enjoyed a dream season at Franklin's Gardens and was named in the Aviva Premiership team of the year.

Dylan Hartley will again captain the side, while Courtney Lawes and Paul Hill have also been selected.

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