A 13-minute hat-trick by Tom Varndell set them on their way, with three more tries coming before half-time and a further five after the break. Next Thursday’s game, at Newport-Gwent Dragons, remains important as it is likely to determine whether Dai Young’s team will have a home quarter-final.
Wasps got off to a perfect start with a try within 95 seconds. Mogliano kicked off, Wasps gathered and forced their way into the visitors half. Mogliano managed to win possession, but a long clearance found Hugo Southwell, in oceans of space, well inside his own half. He could see that Wasps had numbers out to the left and quick passing found Tom Varndell, who pinned back his ears to run in from near halfway. Nick Robinson converted from near the touchline.
It took just over four minutes for Varndell to add a second try, after aggressive Wasps defence forced some hurried passing by the visitors. Wasps intercepted and Varndell was sent in from halfway, to cross between the posts, giving Robinson a simple conversion.
With the bit between their teeth, Wasps were running the ball at every opportunity and it was almost their undoing after 10 minutes. Southwell and Jack Wallace began an attack from their own 22. When the ball was moved back infield, a pass failed to go to hand and Mogliano pounced. They moved the ball out to the left and then back inside, where flyhalf Alejandro Canale sent a drop kick to the right of the posts.
Varndell completed his hat-trick on 13 minutes, after Marco Wentzel stole a Mogliano lineout. Again, Wasps had a huge numerical superiority out on the left and the ball quickly found its way to Varndell, who ran in from halfway.
A quick look at the records established that this had been the quickest hat-trick in European cup rugby.
Robinson’s conversion made it 21-0 and three minutes later, the flyhalf split the defence with a midfield break from inside his own half to send Chris Bell in for the bonus point try. Robinson added the extra points, to stretch the lead to 28-0. Barring an unlikely comeback by Mogliano, Wasps had now effectively clinched their quarterfinal place.
With Wasps enjoying total dominance, it was a surprise that it took 17 minutes before they scored their fifth try. It came after another freeflowing move almost produced a try in the right corner.
The referee took play back, for a Wasps penalty, near the posts. Robinson took a quick tap, and spun the ball out to the left, where Varndell came close. Quick ball was spun out to the right, and Jack Wallace sent James Cannon over in the corner.
Robinson missed the conversion, but made no mistake with the final kick of the half, to convert Jack Wallace’s try – the result of another controlled buildup which sucked in defenders and created a big overlap on the right. This time, Wallace stepped inside to finish, rather than deliver the scoring pass. 40-0 at halftime reflected the way Wasps’ pace and power had proved too much for the outclassed, but spirited Italian side.
After an opening period of Mogliano possession, at the start of the second half, Wasps came close to their seventh try after James Haskell’s harrying stole the ball, a few metres inside the visitors’ half. Jack Wallace raced away down the right, before veering infield and trying to find Nick Robinson, but the ball was at the fly-half’s ankles, and he was unable to gather.
The seventh try came on 45 minutes, when Charlie Davies showed strength and speed, to go over from 20 metres. Robinson’s sixth conversion stretched the lead to 47-0.
The visitors then enjoyed their first period of sustained pressure, which produced two penalties near the line, both of which were kicked to the corner. They were rewarded when skipper Edoardo Candiago went over after a well-controlled lineout catch and drive. Enrico Endrizzi landed the conversion.
Wasps responded strongly and a powerful run by replacement Chris Mayor set up quick possession, from which Charlie Davies spun the ball out to the left and James Haskell’s short pass found Tom Lindsay, going at full speed. He was half-tackled, but kept his feet to go over in the left corner, taking the score past the 50 mark. Robinson’s conversion went wide.
Davies added his second try on 64 minutes, taking a quick tap and going over from 5 metres after an elusive run by Jonah Holmes, who had gone in to the centre. Robinson’s conversion took the score to 59-7
Marco Wentzel galloped in from 15 metres, to add Wasps’ tenth try, in the right corner. Robinson missed the difficult conversion and Wasps were then reduced to 14 men, when Chris Mayor was shown a yellow card ten minutes from time.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, it was Wasps who scored the next try when they made a mess of Mogliano possession, at a scrum inside their 22. The loose ball was snapped up and moved out to the right.
Andrea Masi chipped towards the line and had the pace to beat the defence and touch down for a very popular try, which Robinson – named Bollinger Man of the Match – converted, from wide on the right. It was the last score of an entertaining, if one-sided game.
Wasps’ total of 71 points was their best ever in the Challenge Cup, breaking the record they’d set with their 59-12 win in Mogliano.
Wasps complete the pool stages of the Amlin Challenge Cup next Thursday evening, when they travel to Newport Gwent Dragons.
The next home game will be on Saturday, February the 2nd, when Sale Sharks are the visitors to Adams Park, in the LV= Cup.
Wasps Team: 15. Hugo Southwell (c ) 14. Jack Wallace 13. Andrea Masi 12. Chris Bell 11. Tom Varndell 10. Nick Robinson 9. Charlie Davies 1. Tim Payne 2. Tom Lindsay 3. Phil Swainston 4. James Cannon 5. Marco Wentzel 6. Sam Jones 7. James Haskell 8. Billy Vunipola
Replacements: 16. Nathan Morris 17. Zak Taulafo 18. Will Taylor 19. Jonathan Poff 20. Matt Everard 21. Jonah Holmes 22. Tommy Bell 23. Chris Mayor
Mogliano: Edoardo Padovani; Giovanni Benvenuti, Alessandro Onori, Cristian Cerioni, Vittorio Candiago; Alejandro Canale, Enrico Endrizzi; Gianluca Ceneda, Augustin Costa Repetto, Massimiliano Ravalle, Federico Maso, Jacopo Bocchi, Nicola Corbanese, Andrea Ceccato, Edoardo Candiago ©
Replacements: Ivan Gianesini, Laert Naka, Enrico Pavanello, Meyer Swanepoel, Silvio Orlando, Alberto Lucchese, Filippo Guarducci, Enrico Ceccato