Wasps beat Toulon with a bonus-point

Date published: November 22 2015

Wasps claimed their second successive win in the Champions Cup as they beat Toulon 32-6 with a bonus-point at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday.

The result puts them five points clear of Bath in the pool of death as European competition now breaks until December when they face Bath.

Nathan Hughes (2), Ruaridh Jackson and Frank Halai were their try-scorers but Wasps will have been concerned to see Hughes hobbling from the field on 73 minutes with a leg injury. He was outstanding and gave Toulon fly-half Quade Cooper an evening to forget on his Champions Cup debut.

Cooper's performance coincided with a disappointing showing from the reigning champions, who could not impose their game onto Wasps. The English deserve all the credit for that as they look to be the real deal in 2015/16.

Wasps were superb in the first-half as they went into the break 20-6 ahead thanks to tries from Hughes and Jackson, with the latter also joining Elliot Daly in contributing off the tee. Only two Jonathan Pelissie penalties were on Toulon's card as they looked out of sorts.

One thing Wasps did manage to do in the opening 40 minutes was to negate the Steffon Armitage factor at the breakdown while their wings, Christian Wade and Halai, enjoyed good workmanlike outings. In fact they combined as early as the fourth minute but Halai hit the sideline.

Toulon could have taken the lead in Coventry after a ruck offence from James Haskell but Pelissie was off-target and Wasps made him pay. Halai was again involved as his powerful run in midfield led to recycled ball finding Jackson whose long pass sent Hughes over for 7-0.

Jackson's lovely touchline conversion was one of several plus points for Wasps and he added to his good half with a chip that sparked a second try, this time Joe Simpson gathered the ball before second-row James Gaskell found fly-half Jackson for a score that made it 14-0.

Toulon looked rocked but did get points on the board in the sixteenth minute thanks to a powerful scrum. Pelissie, this time, would slot it.

Wasps though were keen to keep their cushion and with further shots from Daly and Jackson preceding Pelissie's 35th minute penalty, they had a fourteen-point buffer at the turnaround. It was no more than they deserved as they looked to back up last week's win at Leinster.

Toulon did emerge with noticeable fire in their belly and the decision to replace Matt Stevens with Levan Chilachava was a clear sign they wanted more from their pack. Wasps knew what to expect though and defended stoutly to weather a storm for the first ten minutes of the half.

Once they had managed that they put further room between themselves and the reigning champions as a third try arrived on 52 minutes, this time full-back Charles Piutau finding a hole before setting up Halai for a foot-race to the uprights. With Jackson's conversion it was 27-6.

Cue the French emptying their bench, possibly in preparation for next week's Top 14 game against Clermont, as number eight Armitage was taken off. However such is the class of Toulon's squad, on in his place came South Africa's Duane Vermeulen for the closing 25 minutes.

The French would have little joy though late on as in fact it would be Wasps turning the screw, with a fourth try coming in the 67th minute from Hughes at the tail of a driving maul. Despite Jackson missing the extras, it was job done in terms of claiming the maximum haul.

The scorers:

For Wasps:
Tries: Hughes 2, Jackson, Halai
Con: Jackson 3
Pen: Daly, Jackson

For Toulon:
Pen: Pelissie 2

Wasps: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Ben Jacobs, 11 Frank Halai, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 George Smith, 6 James Haskell (c), 5 James Gaskell, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Ashley Johnson, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Lorenzo Cittadini, 19 Kearnan Myall, 20 Sam Jones, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Alex Lozowski, 23 Sailosi Tagicakibau.

Toulon: 15 Delon Armitage, 14 Josua Tuisova, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Jonathan Pelissie, 8 Steffon Armitage, 7 Juan Fernandez Lobbe, 6 Juan Smith (c), 5 Romain Taofifenua, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Anthony Etrillard, 1 Xavier Chiocci.
Replacements: 16 Bastien Soury, 17 Florian Fresia, 18 Levan Chilachava, 19 Duane Vermeulen, 20 Mamuka Gorgodze, 21 Theo Belan, 22 Sebastien Tillous-Borde, 23 Konstantine Mikautadze.

Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Dudley Phillips (Ireland), Leo Colgan (Ireland)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)