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Leinster were five points ahead after an even first-half, but the reigning European champions scored ten points in the first few five minutes of the second half, to set them on their way to a convincing victory.
After a nervous opening minute, which saw two Joe Simpson kicks charged down inside his own 22, Wasps went ahead in the second minute. Simpson broke to the blindside, from a scrum inside the Wasps 22. Play went through several phases, before Andrea Masi accelerated through the Leinster midfield, before feeding Christian Wade. The winger raced in from 40 metres for a glorious try, which Nick Robinson was unable to convert.
Leinster produced the perfect response, just three minutes later. A controlled buildup created the chance for Gordon D’Arcy to stroll through a huge gap in midfield, to touch down between the posts. Ian Madigan added the extra points, to put the visitors 7-5 ahead.
Madigan was just off target with a long-range penalty attempt, from just inside the Wasps half, following another controlled period of impressive high-speed play by Leinster.
The flyhalf then put in a well-judge kick towards the right corner. Elliot Daly was beaten by the bounce, but Tom Varndell had covered back to gather, just ahead of the chasing Dave Kearney.
After 14 minutes, Wasps were back in front, thanks to another memorable try by Christian Wade. The attack began just inside the Leinster half, and was nearing the 22, when Wade suddenly appeared at top speed from the left of the field. After gathering Nick Robinson’s pass, he sidestepped past one defender, before accelerating away round a second,to race clear for a superb score, which Nick Robinson converted, from near the right touchline, to put Wasps 12-7 ahead.
Leinster reclaimed the lead, after 22 minutes. Another controlled build-up, in which Jamie Heaslip and Cian Healy both made good ground, set up the chance for Madigan to jink through a gap and go over between the posts. He converted his own try, to make the score 14-12.
Four minutes later, the Leinster flyhalf stretched the lead to 17-12, with a penalty from 42 metres. With eight minutes of the half left, Nick Robinson missed a difficult penalty from wide out on the left, ten metres outside the Leinster 22.
A minute later, he had another chance, from the 10-metre line, and almost straight in front of the posts. This time, he was on target and the gap was down to two points, at 17-15.
Wasps were then forced into their first replacement, when Jonathan Poff came on for Sam Jones, who had received several minutes of treatment before leaving the field, looking rather groggy. Almost immediately, the Wasps scrum was penalised on its ten-metre line, and Madigan landed the kick to restore the five-point advantage in the final minute of normal time.
With the clock at zero, a Leinster attack broke down in midfield, Wasps gathered the loose ball and Andrea Masi sent a kick towards the right corner. Christian Wade was in hot pursuit, but just failed to reach the ball, before it went into touch, and the halftime whistle came, after 40 minutes of thrilling rugby, in which both sides had shown attacking intent from start to finish.
Three minutes after halftime, following a promising early raid by Wasps, Nick Robinson lost control of the ball just inside his own half. Madigan pounced on the loose ball and hacked downfield. The Wasps defence managed to get back into position, but Leinster recycled quickly and made a series of charges for the line, before the referee took play back to the site of a Wasps offence, just inside the 22. Madigan’s third penalty put the visitors 23-15 ahead.
A minute later, the visitors added a third try, after Isa Nacewa burst through some weak tackling on the Leinster 22. He hacked downfield and Elliot Daly failed to gather the awkwardly bouncing ball, just short of the line. Leinster arrived in numbers and Mike Ross crashed over. Madigan’s conversion made the score 30-15.
A Nick Robinson penalty pulled back three points, before Billy Vunipola replaced Tom Palmer, with Joe Launchbury moving up into the second row. The injured Elliot Daly also left the field, to be replaced by Hugo Southwell.
Another Madigan penalty, from in front of the posts, made it 33-18, following another high-speed Leinster attack.
It was now all Leinster, and their fourth try soon followed, when Rob Kearney went over in the right corner. Madigan missed the conversion, but Leinster were now 20 points clear, with 20 minutes to go.
Wasps refused to lie down, and were rewarded for their efforts when Christian Wade came into the line to send Tom Varndell over in the right corner, with quarter of an hour left. Robinson’s conversion went wide.
A minute later, Nacewa added a further try, after Robinson’s attempted clearance was charged down, and the ball was spun out to the left, where the winger just managed to go over in the corner, despite a desperate tackle by Varndell. Madigan landed a superb touchline conversion, to make the score 45-23.
Wasps continued to battle away, and Varndell added his second try, picking up a loose ball to dot down in the corner, after another spirited attack, in which Billy Vunipola made a series of telling bursts. Robinson was again off target, from the left touchline.
Stephen Jones became the final Wasps replacement, when he took the place of Andrea Masi, inside the final ten minutes.
With four minutes left, an unstoppable driving maul by the Leinster pack made the best part of 30 metres, before Wasps were penalised, in front of their posts and Madigan added another penalty, to make the final score 48-28, bringing Wasps’ European challenge to an end.
It’s back to Aviva Premiership action next weekend, when Wasps travel to Welford Road, to face Leicester Tigers.
The final home game of the season will be against Exeter Chiefs, on Sunday, April the 21st.
Wasps Team: Elliot Daly; Christian Wade, Andrea Masi, Chris Bell, Tom Varndell; Nick Robinson, Joe Simpson; Zak Taulafo, T. Rhys Thomas, Phil Swainston, Tom Palmer, Marco Wentzel (c), Joe Launchbury, Sam Jones, Ashley Johnson
Replacements: Tom Lindsay, Tim Payne, Will Taylor, Jonathan Poff, Billy Vunipola, Charlie Davies, Stephen Jones, Hugo Southwell
Leinster: Rob Kearney, Dave Kearney, Fergus McFadden, Gordon D'Arcy, Isa Nacewa; Ian Madison, Isaac Boss; Cian Healy, Richardt Strauss, Mike Ross, Leo Cullen (c), Devin Toner, Kevin McLaughlin, Sean O'Brien, Jamie Heaslip
Replacements: Sean Cronin. Jack McGrath, Jamie Hagan, Quinn Roux, Rhys Ruddock, John Cooney, Andrew Goodman, Andrew Conway