Late drama as Wasps beat Castres

Date published: December 7 2014

Wasps scored two tries in the final ten minutes to secured a 32-17 bonus-point win over Castres at Stade Pierre Antoine on Sunday.

With the teams separated by just a single point, Sitiveni Sivivatu was shown a yellow card for a high tackle on Tom Varndell, which also resulted in a penalty try.

Sailosi Tagicakibau added another try in the dying moments as Wasps pulled clear to bag a full house of points and revive their hopes of emerging from Pool Two.

A ding-dong first half ended with Wasps leading 15-14 thanks to early tries from Rob Miller and Nathan Hughes while Castres replied via touch downs from Mathieu Bonello and Remy Lamerat.

Unlike in the first period, the second half remained tight until Julien Dumora and Goode traded penalties in the final quarter of the match.

Both these sides have endured a difficult European campaign so far having failed to win a game between them going into this encounter.

However, it was Wasps who could perhaps feel the most content with their performances in the competition after pushing both Leinster and Harlequins close.

They nevertheless needed a result against the French strugglers and the away team got off to an ideal start when Tom Varndell’s neat chip-kick was collected by Miller for an excellently constructed try.

Castres are still a dangerous outfit despite their disappointing displays in the Top 14 this season and in Sivivatu they have one of the world’s best wingers.

It was his break which got the hosts back on level terms when he sprinted fully 50 metres. Although the move was stopped just short of the line, the ball was shifted left to Bonello who touched down.

The Wasps re-established their control on proceedings when Hughes finished off another well-worked score before Goode added a penalty.

At 15-7 it appeared as though Young’s men had the capabilities of taking charge of the match, but Lamerat’s touchdown reduced the deficit at the interval.

Much like the first half, the visitors started the second period well and made significant indents into the opposition rearguard, but they were unable to take advantage.

Instead, the French outfit had a try disallowed for blocking as Wasps began to struggle at the breakdown. Castres also had penalty and drop-goal opportunities as they controlled territory, but the game drifted towards the final 15 minutes with the hosts still one point in arrears.

They did finally take the lead when Dumora kicked them in front, but it didn’t last long as Goode regained the away side’s advantage.

The turning point in the match then came when Varndell appeared to cross the whitewash but, in the act of scoring, the winger was taken high by Sivivatu.

Referee George Clancy duly awarded a penalty try and sent the former New Zealand international to the sin-bin.

Down to 14 men, the hosts couldn’t cope and Tagicakibau went over to complete a fine win and eliminate Castres.

The scorers:

For Castres:
Tries: Bonello, Lamerat
Cons: Kockott 2
Pen: Dumora
Yellow card: Sivivatu

For Wasps:
Tries: Miller, Hughes, Penalty try, Tagicakibau
Cons: Goode 3
Pens: Goode 2

Castres: 15 Julien Dumora, 14 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 13 Thomas Combezou, 12 Remi Lamerat, 11 Remi Grosso, 10 Daniel Kirkpatrick, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Johnnie Beattie, 7 Yannick Caballero (c), 6 Ibrahim Diarra, 5 Benjamin Desroche, 4 Piula Faasalele, 3 Yohan Montes, 2 Mathieu Bonello, 1 Saimone Taumoepeau
Replacements:16 Marc-Antoine Rallier, 17 Florian Houerie, 18 Ramiro Herrera, 19 Victor Moreaux, 20 Mathieu Babillot, 21 Romain Martial, 22 Max Evans, 23 Cedric Garcia

Wasps: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 13 Ben Jacobs, 12 Alapati Leiua, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Charlie Davies, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 James Haskell (c), 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Edd Shervington, 1 Matt Mullan
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 19 James Gaskell, 20 Guy Thompson, 21 Tom Bliss, 22 Alex Lozowski, 23 Andrea Masi

Venue: Stade Pierre Antoine, Castres
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)