Leinster fight back to edge Wasps

Date published: October 19 2014

Leinster were forced to overturn a 12-point deficit to beat Wasps 25-20 in a nail-biting European Champions Cup clash at the RDS.

Leinster were forced to overturn a 12-point deficit to beat Wasps 25-20 in a nail-biting European Champions Cup clash at the RDS on Sunday.

Darragh Fanning score two tries of his teams three tries as the home side came back from trailing 8-20 late in the first half to open their European campaign with a hard-fought win.

Leinster started the game in a rampant mood, giving Wasps plenty of defensive work to do in the opening five minutes.

The visitors would have been happy to concede a penalty just a few metres out, as they struggled to get to grips on their return to elite European competition.

Though early in the game, many would have feared that the pressure was a sign of things to come. But this Wasps side is made of sterner stuff than those of a few years previous. Andy Goode put them level, which gave Dai Young’s men the confidence to dominate possession for a long period.

Sensation followed soon after. After another Goode penalty, Alapati Leiua scored a length-of-the-field try after an interception not too far from his own line.

It was a pulsating game in Dublin, and the home side soon hit back with a try of their own. Jamie Heaslip made the initial break, before Jimmy Gopperth played in a perfectly weighted kick behind the Wasps defence, with Fanning touching down on the line.

Wasps put themselves in dreamland on the stroke of half time, with Christian Wade scoring a magical try. Taking the ball just inside the Leinster half, he charged down the wing like a streak of lightning, going past three and touching down brilliantly in the corner.

Ian Madigan did hit back just before the end of the half, but that didn’t stop the away side going in to the break 20-11 up.

Leinster were carrying their inconsistent form in the Pro12 into the European Champions Cup, but started the second half with drive and determination.

The RDS arena sensed a comeback, and the noise in the ground was deafening when Eoin Reddan popped up a pass for Fanning, who came in off his wing to slide over and make it a two point game.

Matt O’Connor’s men finally managed to find some consistency, and for the first time in the game managed to build on the momentum they had built.

Sean Cronin burst through the Wasps’ line, causing havoc for the English side, with Dominic Ryan then stretching out a long arm to score, after much examination by the TMO.

That gave the hosts a five point lead with 20 minutes remaining, and they continued to dominate possession and territory without getting that vital score.

In the end, they didn’t need it, as Wasps failed to find any clear cut chances, but still went home with what could be a vital bonus point.

The scorers:

For Leinster:
Tries: Fanning 2, , Ryan
Cons: Madigan 2
Pens: Madigan 2

For Wasps:
Tries: Leiua, Wade
Cons: Goode 2
Pens: Goode 2

Leinster: 15 Ian Madigan, 14 Zane Kirchner, 13 Gordon D’Arcy, 12 Noel Reid, 11 Darragh Fanning, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Dominic Ryan, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Mike McCarthy, 3 Michael Bent, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Jack McGrath
Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Ed Byrne, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Kane Douglas, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Isaac Boss, 22 Mick McGrath, 23 Luke Fitzgerald

Wasps: 15 Andrea Masi, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Alapati Leiua, 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 James Haskell (c), 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Bradley Davies, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 1 Matt Mullan
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 19 James Gaskell, 20 Sam Jones, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Rob Miller, 23 Chris Bell

Venue: The RDS
Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Neil Hennessy (Wales), Simon Rees (Wales)
TMO: Gareth Simmonds (Wales)