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Gopperth winds back clock in Wasps' win

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 10/04/2016

Former Hurricanes first five-eighth Jimmy Gopperth says he will never forget the kick that has taken his English side Wasps into a first major European semi-final for nine years.

The ice-cool 32-year-old kept his nerve amid unbearable tension to convert former All Black Charles Piutau's try with the final act of an epic quarter-final in Coventry that floored Exeter and booked a last-four clash against Saracens.

Most of his teammates could not watch the drama, but Gopperth revealed he relished the pressure as a 23,866 crowd witnessed an incredible finale that saw Wasps edge home 25-24.

"As soon as the try was scored I excused myself from everyone to try to not get too hyped up. I was just concentrating on what I was supposed to be doing."

Gopperth played for the Hurricanes from 2005-08, which included a final appearance in 2006, but then headed north, turning out for the Newcastle Falcons and Leinster before signing for Wasps in 2015.

"I had another pretty big kick with the Hurricanes," Gopperth said. "It was about a 53-metre one to get into a final. It wasn't on the buzzer, but still a big moment. This one was on the buzzer and I will always remember it.

"As soon as it hit the foot I knew straight away that it was going over."

Premiership leaders Saracens will start as favourites at Reading's Madejski Stadium later this month, but Wasps claimed a spectacular 64-23 Premiership win in February, albeit when both sides were minus their Six Nations players.

Gopperth is confident Wasps can win.

"It (Wasps' back division) is right up there - definitely right up there. The confidence the coaches give us to play, they let us have free rein to let us go out and really express ourselves and enjoy the game we love."

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