Impressive Wasps shock Leinster

Date published: November 15 2015

Wasps produced the first upset of the Champions Cup when they thrashed Leinster 33-6 at the RDS Arena in Dublin on Sunday.

Drawn in what is regarded as the toughest pool of the tournament – along with defending champions Toulon and Bath – Wasps started the match as overwhelming underdogs but were seldom seriously troubled.

The English side outscored their hosts three tries to zero with Christian Wade crossing in the first half, and Joe Simpson and Charles Piutau dotting down after the break.

Wasps were good value for their win with their forwards setting up a solid platform for their impressive backs.

Their disjointed hosts were a pale shadow of the side that were crowned European champions three times in recent years. Leinster struggled to get going and to make matters worse they lost key forwards Richardt Strauss and Sean O'Brien to injury in the first half.

Wasps took an early lead when Ruaridh Jackson added a penalty after Jack McGrath was blown up for illegal scrummaging but Leinster struck back when Johnny Sexton replied with a place kick of his own shortly afterwards.

Sexton had a chance to extend his side's lead in the 13th minute, after Nathan Hughes was penalised at the breakdown, but he pushed his kick wide of the uprights.

The Ireland pivot made up for that miss with a penalty three minutes later which gave the home side the lead for the only time before Wasps struck back with penalties from Jackson and Daly – the latter's effort from a full 50 metres out.

Wasps then extended their lead in bizarre fashion 10 minutes before half-time.

Wade pounced on an error from Dave Kearney, who was bamboozled by a bouncing ball deep inside his 22, after a box kick by Simpson.

Kearney seemed to be in control after allowing the ball to bounce twice close to his tryline but then slipped when trying to collect which allowed Wade to gather and dot down for the opening try.

Jackson kicked the conversion which meant the visitors led 16-6 at half-time.

The visitors were fastest out of the blocks after the restart and their enterprising play was soon rewarded when Frank Halai burst through a couple of tackles before throwing an inside pass to Simpson just outside Leinster's 22.

The scrum-half still had work to do but showed the cover defence a clean pair of heels on his 25-metre run to the try line.

Leinster tried desperately to get back into the game but every attack was met by a solid defensive effort from their visitors. 

The rest of the half was a scrappy affair as both sides turned over possession on several occasions due to a plethora of handling errors. 

Daly had a couple of shots at goal from long range which were both off target. His second effort struck an upright in the 69th minute and after the ball was knocked on by one of his team-mates, Tadhg Furlong handled from an offside position which allowed Jackson to add another three-pointer from close range.

That secured victory for the visitors but they weren't done yet. Shortly before full-time, a flowing attack was rounded off by Piutau, after Sailosi Tagicakibau was stopped just short in the build-up.

Tagicakibau initially grounded the ball close but crucially not onto the line, however it bounced backwards into the hands of Piutau who had an easy run-in in the right-hand corner.

The scorers:

For Leinster:
Pens: Sexton 2

For Wasps:
Tries: Wade, Simpson, Piutau
Cons: Jackson, Lozowski
Pens: Jackson 3, Daly

Leinster: 15 Ian Madigan (c), 14 Zane Kirchner, 13 Fergus McFadden, 12 Noel Reid, 11 Dave Kearney, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Jordi Murphy, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Jack McGrath.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Hayden Triggs, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Cathal Marsh, 23 Garry Ringrose

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 Sam Jones, 5 Bradley Davies, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 1 Matt Mullan (c).
Replacements: 16 Ashley Johnson, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 James Gaskell, 20 Guy Thompson, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Alex Lozowski, 23 Sailosi Tagicakibau

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)