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Wasps will play Biarritz at home in the first weekend of April in the knock-out stages. See here for an album of pictures from the game.
Wasps started promisingly, when Ryan Davis’s long kickoff rolled into touch, near the corner. They won the lineout, and spun the ball wide, but a long pass was almost intercepted by Thierry Brana, who would have a had clear run-in for a try, had he not failed to gather.
A powerful run by Jonathan Poff then launched a sustained attack, which took play deep into the Bordeaux 22, before a Wasps foot unintentionally kicked the ball out of the visitors’ side of the ruck.
Wasps were attacking at every opportunity, with Hugo Southwell constantly coming in to the line, but their ambitious approach proved their undoing in the sixth minute, when another long pass was intercepted by left winger Vunga Lilo, who ran in from over halfway, to give his side the lead, completely against the run of play. Camille Lopez added the extra points.
Wasps had a chance to open their account after Bordeaux were penalised, a few metres outside their 22, but Davis’s penalty attempt went wide.
The men in Black and Gold finally got on to the scoresheet after 17 minutes. They stole a Bordeaux lineout, on halfway, and moved the ball quickly out to the right. It reached Elliot Daly, who stepped inside the first line of defence, before accelerating away. He had Richard Haughton outside him, but his speed and strength were enough to take him over the line, for a superb individual effort. Davis was unable to convert, with a kick from near the touchline.
Joe Simpson then produced a characteristic burst, when he raced 30 metres through the heart of the Bordeaux defence, but was stopped a few metres inside the 22. The ball was kept alive, but possession was lost, through a handling error.
Davis was on target after 22 minutes, with a well-struck penalty from 45 metres, to put the home side ahead. Almost immediately, Southwell again came into the line, in another fine move which took Wasps to within a couple of metres of the line. They recycled quickly, and moved the ball back infield, but the opportunity was lost, when they were penalised for crossing.
Another half-chance went begging, after Bordeaux possession was turned over, a few metres outside the Wasps 22. Wasps had an overlap on the left, but Joe Simpson had to stretch for a long pass, and knocked on.
Bordeaux then produced their first threatening attack, when they moved the ball wide to the left. Richard Haughton went for an interception, but the long pass to Lilo went over his head, and the winger made 20 metres into the Wasps 22. Play came back infield, but Wasps were spared, when number 8 Leroy Houston had to stretch for a pass, and knocked on.
With three minutes left before the break, Wasps produced a glorious piece of sustained attacking play, with forwards and backs combining well to stretch the defence on both sides of the field. Ryan Davis and Sam Jones both featured several times, before the move finally came to a stop, deep inside the 22.
Just over minute before halftime, the Wasps pressure finally told, following a scrum, inside the Bordeaux 22. Joe Simpson broke from the base, and linked up with Jack Wallace. The winger, celebrating his 21st birthday, made a thrust for the line. He was stopped just short, but managed to offload to Matt Everard, who went over for a fine try. Davis was narrowly off target with his conversion , and the halftime whistle blew, with Wasps leading 13-7, a smaller lead than their play had deserved. They had produced some of their most entertaining rugby of the season, but stout defence, and a lack of precision in the danger zone prevented them from making the most of their excellent approach work.
Within a minute of the restart, Wasps were penalised at a scrum, and Lopez’s kick, from 30 metres, narrowed the gap to three points. Wasps immediately went back on the attack, with another multi-phased passage of play, which ended with Elliot Daly trying to wriggle through the defence, on the left, but the Bordeaux defence managed to force the attack into touch.
Davis was then narrowly off target, with a 45-metre penalty. A minute later, further Wasps pressure, with the industrious Sam Jones prominent, yielded another penalty, just outside the Bordeaux 22, 15 metres in from the right touchline. This time, Davis made no mistake with his kick, to put Wasps six points ahead, nine minutes into the second half. Almost immediately, Wasps were penalised, a few metres inside the Bordeaux half. The Bordeaux captain, Laurent Ferreres, decided to go for goal, and his monster kick sailed between the posts.
Wasps went back on the attack, and came close to a try out on the left, but the final pass was just out of Jack Wallace’s reach. The winger then made a good run down the left, and conti nued pressure produced another penalty, which Davis landed, to restore the six –point advantage, as the game neared the final quarter.
A well-executed scissors move sent Dom Waldouck through the Bordeaux midfield. His angled run took him deep into the Bordeaux 22, but the defence managed to bring him down, before he could release Richard Haughton. Play continued, and a Bordeaux offence gave Davis a simple kick at goal, from in front of the posts. He duly slotted it, to stretch the lead to nine points.
Now more than a score ahead, Wasps continued to press, and a darting run by Joe Simpson was stopped inches short. Quick ball was produced, and Dom Waldouck flicked it out to Richard Haughton, who dived over in the corner, only for the referee to rule that the pass had gone forward.
Wasps were now camped on the Bordeaux line, and it took desperate defence, and a series of offences to withstand a ferocious assault. The referee finally lost his patience, and showed a yellow card to replacement Hugh Chalmers. With a one-man advantage, Wasps opted for a scrum, and were rewarded with a penalty try. Davis’s conversion made the score 29-13, leaving Wasps just over six minutes to secure the try which would guarantee a home quarterfinal.
It came in spectacular fashion, when a Bordeaux movement broke down, in the Wasps 22. Joe Simpson pounced on the loose ball, and moved the ball out wide. Richard Haughton raced away down the right, the ball was moved back infield and replacement hooker Tom Lindsay was on hand to gather the pass, and race in for a magnificent try, which sent the Adams Park crowd into raptures. Davis’s conversion made the score 36-13, and Wasps were looking forward to a home quarter-final.
The next two weeks are taken up by the final pool games in the LV= Cup. Next Saturday, Wasps face Exeter Chiefs, at Adams Park.
15 Hugo Southwell 14 Richard Haughton 13 Elliot Daly 12 Dom Waldouck 11 Jack Wallace 10 Ryan Davis 9 Joe Simpson 1 Tim Payne 2 Rob Webber 3 Ben Broster 4 Richard Birkett 5 Marco Wentzel (capt.) 6 Jonathan Poff 7 Matt Everard 8 Sam Jones
Tom Lindsay, Zak Taulafo, Jeremy Castex, Joe Burton, James Harris, Nic Berry, Charlie Davies, Chris Mayor
Laurent Ferreres, Vunga Lilo, Andrew Mailei, Charles Brousse, Thierry Brana, Camille Lopez, Manu Saubusse, Franck Labbe, Fabien Rofes, Albert Toetu, Dan Leo, Francois Tisseau, Charlie Ternissien, Louis Madaule, Leroy Houston
Ole Avei, Hicairo Forbes, Ricky Davies, Rafael Carballo, Julien Seron, Blair Connor, Michel Denetre, Hugh Chalmers