Leicester Tigers secured sixth place in the Gallagher Premiership table with a first win at Wasps since 2015, scoring five tries in a 38-31 victory on the final day of the season.
Tigers had previously won just once in eight attempts at the Ricoh Arena – on their first visit in May 2015 – but led 24-21 at half-time with scores from Cameron Henderson, Matt Scott and Dan Cole, and stayed in front after the break when Julian Montoya and Tomas Lavanini added to the scoreboard.
Wasps had claimed three of their own through Sione Vailanu (2) and Jacob Umaga in the first period and then claimed a bonus point with a Will Rowlands try after the break.
The teams went into the game one place and one point apart in the league, with Tigers in sixth on 49 points just above their neighbours at the top of a clutch of teams separated by a handful of points.
A third away win of the season also completed a home-and-away double after a 27-8 win back at Mattioli Woods Welford Road in February.
Argentina international Montoya scored in that game but made his first staring appearance since in a team captained by front-row colleague Ellis Genge.
Wasps made a late change on the bench when Alfie Barbeary was ruled out by a facial injury and hooker Tom Cruse was added to the replacements. Josh Bassett ran out for his 150th first-team appearance and Jacob Umaga reached his 50th.
Johnny McPhillips got the game started in front of a sunshine crowd as the Ricoh admitted supporters for the first time since February 2020.
After errors from both teams in the opening phases, Wasps were first on the scoreboard when they used a scrum penalty near halfway to build pressure through the forwards in front of the posts until No8 Vailanu found the space to reach out and score.
The conversion from Umaga made it 7-0 with 10 minutes played before Tigers used Nemani Nadolo and Ellis Genge to provide some go-forward and a steal from the big wing provided the opening for a try.
It came from a big scrum, with Jack Van Poortvliet going to the blindside where Dan Kelly stepped his way up to the line and then popped ball back for Henderson who picked up with his fingertips and stretched out to score. McPhillips levelled the scores with the conversion on 21 minutes.
It was to be the first of a six-try spell in the 20 minutes up to half-time, with Scott providing the next from first phase ball as, playing with advantage from a scrum, the centre arrived on a piercing line to score next to the posts.
But Wasps came straight back with a try from Umaga, reading Marcus Watson’s clever kick from a break down the right wing to show his pace through the middle. The conversion made it 14-14 on 28 minutes.
When Dan Robson dropped the restart kick, Wasps were penalised in scrambling for possession on the floor and McPhillips kicked the three-pointer for a 17-14 lead.
After another penalty, Genge directed to play into the corner and Tigers made the most of the opportunity, throwing to the front and then providing a chance for Dan Cole to push his way over. Although centre Michael Le Bourgeois rolled with Cole over the whitewash, referee Luke Pearce confirmed the try after checking replays – after blanks in his previous 122 appearances dating back to 2015.
McPhillips added the conversion for a 24-14 lead but within 60 seconds Vailanu burst through for his second try of the afternoon and Umaga converted to cut the gap to three points.
Genge’s carry into two defenders created some space for another attack but this time, when ball squirted up to Liebenberg, it just escaped his grasp and Wasps had the scrum 15 metres from their own tryline. They used it to launch a searing counter-attack, led again by Watson on the right, but when Steward was penalised back in defence, the hosts went for a quick crosskick which went directly to Nadolo who booted clear to bring the half-time whistle.
Both teams looked to kick for field position at the start of the second half, with one prod from McPhillips forcing Umaga back to his own tryline and a second pushing play into the right-hand corner.
Eventually, some pressure 20 metres out provided the bonus-point score as Van Poortvliet broke a tackle and found Montoya in support who pushed over for his fifth try of the season. It took Tigers to 50 points for the season and ensured a finish in the top eight and a Champions Cup place.
McPhillips converted to make it 31-21 on 50 minutes.
Scott made a break from a lineout on the left but was pulled back by referee Pearce for breaking early beyond the lineout offside line. Although the penalty allowed Wasps to get upfield, they met stern defence and eventually spilled ball 20 metres out.
Centre Scott was involved again as Wasps looked for space on their right and there looked to be little threat as they played across the pitch but Will Rowlands broke the line to score on the left and the conversion made it 28-31.
Ollie Chessum returned to first-team action as a replacement for Wiese as the game approached the hour mark and Tomás Lavanini appeared for his final game for the club as Henderson made way.
Wasps manufactured space on the counter-attack and took play into the right-hand corner but Robson missed both Watson and Malakai Fekitoa just a few metres short of the tryline.
Referee Pearce, though, checked a tackle from Zack Henry on Watson and showed the Tigers full-back a yellow card.
It also meant play came back for a penalty which Umaga played to touch on their right flank but the defence stood firm, with Murimurivalu eventually picking up a penalty over the ball in the shadow of the posts after Chessum’s tackle had stopped Rowlands.
Play had become fractured from both teams as Martin made a heavy hit on Gabriel Oghre and carried him back towards the Wasps 22 but when the hosts broke upfield they overloaded the left wing only for Jimmy Gopperth to drop a pass in midfield.
Matias Moroni was introduced in midfield and immediately made his presence felt, hacking ball up to the Wasps tryline and then flooring Gopperth behind the chalk as he mopped up.
It provided a five-metre scrum which brought another penalty – and a Wasps warning – and Tigers were back up to 15 men as Henry returned and a fifth try followed with Lavanini barging over from close range.
James Whitcombe replaced skipper Genge as McPhillips lined up the conversion and added two points with an in-off the post to make it 38-28 with seven minutes to play.
Young prop Whitcombe played his part in gaining a scrum penalty to take play upfield again and, although Tigers missed their lineout man, they recovered with a defensive turnover and then forced an error back upfield to gain another set-piece put-in.
That kept play inside Wasps territory until, finally, a penalty verdict gave Wasps another chance to break out. They missed their overlap on the left while playing advantage but called for the kick to claim a second point, with Umaga’s kick bringing the game – and the season for both teams – to a close.