Wasps consigned Bristol to a last place finish in the Aviva Premiership and almost-certain relegation after claiming a comfortable 36-21 victory at Ashton Gate.
Bristol are 12 points behind Worcester with just two games left, and the only way they can now survive in English rugby’s top flight is if the eventual Championship title winners do not meet Premiership entry criteria.
But even that escape route appears blocked off, given either London Irish or Yorkshire Carnegie are expected to win that division next month and secure Premiership status.
Bristol’s 17th defeat from 20 league starts this term followed a familiar pattern – plenty of endeavour and strong approach work, but ultimately being punished for lacking real quality in attack.
Basset scores his side’s first try (Getty)
Wing Josh Bassett, hooker Tommy Taylor and scrum-half Joe Simpson scored first-half tries for Wasps – Jimmy Gopperth kicked three conversions – before wing Christian Wade and flanker Guy Thompson struck during the third quarter to leave Bristol floundering.
Bassett’s second try rubbed salt into Bristol wounds, with the home side contributing an early Jason Woodward touchdown and late scores by Jack O’Connell and Nick Fenton-Wells, with centre Gavin Henson kicking one conversion and fly-half Billy Searle two.
But Bristol are now effectively on their way to the Championship again after just one season back in the Premiership as they prepare to welcome a new head coach in current Connacht boss Pat Lam and several new player signings.
Bristol, despite survival odds being stacked against them before kick-off, came flying out of the blocks and they stunned Wasps by scoring a try after just three minutes.
Victory strengthened Wasps’ hold on the Premiership (Getty)
Wasps looked to attack from just inside their own half, but possession was spilled and Woodward gathered before setting off on an unopposed 50-metre run to the line, before Henson’s touchline conversion made it…