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After a try from David Lemi, awarded by the TMO, they were minutes away from victory when David Skrela’s sixth penalty out Toulouse back in front but a long-range penalty attempt from Dave Walder, with just over a minute left was just inches away. A bonus point was scant consolation for a magnificent effort by Tom Rees’ men.
Wasps made one late change to their squad. With Riki Flutey’s wife about to have their third child, Steve Kefu took his place among the replacements.
The heavy rain which had fallen before the game had eased to a steady drizzle by kick off. With barely a minute gone, Wasps came close to a dramatic score when a Toulouse move broke down outside their 22. Ben Jacobs hacked the loose ball towards the line, but couldn’t quite reach it before it went into touch-in-goal.
Three minutes late, after stealing a Wasps lineout, Toulouse were caught offside a few metres outside their 22, and Dave Walder landed a kick to put the visitors in front.
Toulouse posed their first attacking threat, when Byron Kelleher collected Mark Van Gisbergen’s chip, a few metres inside his 22, and sent a long kick downfield. Dave Walder did well to get back and gather, before setting the ball up to be cleared to touch. But Wasps were penalised from the lineout and Skrela made no mistake with a fine kick from near touch, a few metres inside the Wasps half.
Walder’s well-placed restart put Toulouse immediately under pressure and Wasps were able to move the ball out wide, after Andy Powell made ground down the middle. After Dom Waldouck cut inside, Toulouse were penalised at the breakdown and Walder landed an excellent kick from wide out on the left to put Wasps back in front after 13 minutes.
Just three minutes later, a powerful Toulouse scrimmage forced a penalty, almost exactly where Skrela had landed his first kick. He was on target again, but needed the help of the crossbar after the ball landed on it and bounced the wrong way for Wasps.
When Wasps were awarded a freekick from a scrum, they patiently worked the ball infield before releasing the backs out wide and Ben Jacobs came close to punching his way through gap when he came onto the ball at pace, but it was dislodged in a tackle and Toulouse were able to clear.
The home side then came close to an opening try, after Vincent Clerc joined the line from the blindside following a scrum. The move ended just short of the line, but the ball was worked back out to the left and a try seemed inevitable as Clement Poitreaud came up from fullback, but he dropped the ball with the line just a few metres away.
From the scrum, Joe Simpson broke away down the left, but Wasps were penalised at the breakdown, when he was stopped, just over the 22. Skrela’s kick again hit the woodwork but this time the bounce, off the left-hand post fell into the arms of Andy Powell whose clearance made touch just inside the Toulouse half.
Just a few minutes later, with Toulouse trying to move the ball wide to the right, Wasps were penalised 40 metres out and Skrela put his side ahead for the first time. The fly half then gave Wasps and excellent attacking position, when his badly mishit clearance struck skipper Thierry Dusautoir, in an offside position ten metres outside this 22 and a scrum ensued. Possession was on and the ball was moved out to the left but Dom Waldouck’s was too close to Poitrenaud who cleared to over halfway.
With under three minutes left before the break, Wasps drew level after Tom Rees made the most of an extra ten metres given when his side were awarded a free kick just inside the Toulouse half. He took it quickly and forced his way towards the 22. The ball was recycled to the right and Waldouck made a half break towards the corner. When play came back infield, Dave Walder was in the perfect position to land a sweetly struck drop goal.
Toulouse responded with a high kick to the corner from Skrela. Several players went up for it and it bounced into the arms of Tom Varndell, who found a good touch towards halfway.
Halftime to end forty minutes in which Wasps had competed well with the reigning champions restricting them to one clear try scoring chance.
Wasps had an early scare at the restart, after they let it bounce inside their 22, but Toulouse were penalised. The next threat came from Wasps after Van Gisbergen had failed to gather Skrela’s high kick. He managed to flick it backwards and it reached Tom Varndell, who sent Richard Haughton away down the right. He kicked ahead and supported by Joe Simpson, forced the defence back over the line but Wasps conceded a free kick at the scrum and a superb position was lost.
Wasps then made their first substitution, with Joe Ward and Ben Broster making way for Rob Webber and Jason Hobson, making his debut for the Men in Black and Gold.
A promising Wasps move broke down when Ben Jacobs was unable to hang on to a head-high pass and Toulouse counterattacked dangerously, with Vincent Clerc kicked towards the line and Van Gisbergen did well to link with Jacobs, who cleared to touch. Toulouse then mounted a dangerous drive for the line, before they were penalised just short after a try seemed likely.
Toulouse continued to apply the pressure, before an overthrown lineout enabled Tom Rees to hack downfield and find a welcome touch just inside the home 22. After an exchange of kicks, Dave Walder then found touch with a long diagonal effort which went out just inside the Toulouse 22. Wasps then had a stroke of luck, after Byron Kelleher was unable to reach a long clearance from Richard Haughton and could only deflect it into touch near his side but Toulouse stole the lineout.
A miscued clearance from Tom Varndell then gave Toulouse the chance to put the Wasps defence under pressure and Van Gisbergen, under pressure, could only find touch a few metres from the corner.
James Cannon came on for Richard Birkett and was almost immediately lining up behind the posts after Wasps were penalised a few metres out, and a long advantage almost brought the game’s opening try. Skrela’s fourth penalty put his side back in front, just before the game entered its final quarter. Another substitution brought David Lemi on for Richard Haughton.
Skrela landed a fifth penalty, from halfway, to stretch the lead to six points with16 minutes left. Wasps came straight back with an extraordinary score, when a kick ahead bounced awkwardly and David Lemi pounced on to the loose ball to dive over. After applying pressure, the ball squirted clear and play continued with Toulouse attacking down the right before the referee stopped things to consult his TMO. After an agonising wait, he went back to the line to signal a try under the posts and Walder’s conversion gave Wasps a one-point lead.
With twelve minutes left Joe Simpson was replaced by Nic Berry, as the rain continued to come down. Three minutes later after a wheeled scrum gave Toulouse the put-in, a few metres inside the Wasps half, a powerful shove won them a penalty and Skrela landed his sixth successful kick, to put his side back in front.
By now the greasy ball was proving a nightmare for both sides and there was a series of handling errors. With just over two minutes left, Charlie Beech replaced Jason Hobson. Wasps were then awarded a penalty few metres inside the Toulouse half, and Dave Walder had a long-rang kick to clinch an epic victory. It had the distance but went just wide of the left post to the relief of the home crowd.
Wasps continue their Heineken Cup campaign next Sunday, the 17th of October, when Glasgow Warriors are the visitors to Adams Park (KO 1 pm).