Challenge Cup: Wasps edge past Edinburgh in quarter-final thriller

Colin Newboult

Wasps’ extra muscle proved decisive as they sealed their place in the Challenge Cup semi-finals following a tense 34-30 triumph over Edinburgh in the Scottish capital.

The English outfit controlled the set-piece throughout but the hosts were the more clinical, especially in the first half, as Ben Vellacott and Adam McBurney touched down.

Jimmy Gopperth responded with a try for the visitors but they went into the break 17-10 down, despite having most of the possession.

Wasps made no such mistake in the second period as they finally benefited from their dominance with Biyi Alo and Tom West giving them a 27-20 advantage.

Back came Edinburgh, though, who levelled matters through Magnus Bradbury before a third Emiliano Boffelli penalty moved the home side back in front with seven minutes remaining.

It was proving to be a nervous finish but Lee Blackett’s men were the stronger team, particularly in the forward eight, and that power resulted in the winning try for Alfie Barbeary.

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Wasps got the first points on the scoreboard when Gopperth kicked a penalty from a central position.

But Edinburgh responded with a successfully-executed penalty of their own two minutes later when Boffelli kicked between the posts.

The hosts soon seized the initiative as Vellacott touched down for the game’s first try at the end of an attack down the right channel, which was sparked by Luke Crosbie and involved McBurney and Boffelli, who made the conversion.

Wasps drew level again after 16 minutes when Gopperth eventually forced his way over next to the posts after Edinburgh initially looked to have repelled a sustained period of pressure close to the line. The try-scorer duly kicked the conversion.

The fast-paced, end-to-end nature of the game continued and McBurney restored Edinburgh’s lead in the 25th minute when he was at the end of a rolling maul after Jamie Hodgson got up to secure a good lineout ball for the hosts. Boffelli was again on target with his conversion.

Wasps enjoyed some intense pressure in the lead-up to half-time but the home side dug deep to ensure they went in at the interval holding a 17-10 advantage.

Edinburgh looked to have tightened their grip on proceedings when Boffelli kicked a penalty just two minutes after the restart.

But the visitors came right back into it after 44 minutes when Alo powered his way over the line for his side’s second try of the match, with Gopperth adding the conversion.

Wasps then evened the scores up again at 20-20 when Gopperth clipped a penalty between the sticks in the 49th minute.

The Coventry-based outfit got themselves in front in the 57th minute as West pushed his way over following more pressure around the Edinburgh posts. Gopperth did the honours once more with the conversion.

Just as Edinburgh looked to be reeling, however, they got themselves back into it when Bradbury raced in under the posts after being fed by Chris Dean following a lineout in the 66th minute. Boffelli chipped the conversion over from close range.

The hosts edged themselves back in front in the 73rd minute when Boffelli kicked a penalty from the 40-metre line.

Edinburgh’s bid to cling on was dealt a blow when Connor Boyle was sin-binned with five minutes remaining and they were made to pay when Barbeary immediately forced over after Wasps won a lineout close to the try-line.

Gopperth converted and the visitors duly withstood some intense late pressure to seal their place in the last four.

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