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Pat Lam stung as Wasps see off Connacht

Wasps' Kurtley Beale scores the opening try during the European Champions Cup, Pool Two match at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry. Picture by PA

European Champions Cup Pool Two: Wasps 32 Connacht 17

CONNACHT head coach Pat Lam lamented a missed opportunity for his side after watching them fall to a 32-17 Pool Two defeat to Wasps at the Ricoh Arena.

Scrum-half Kieran Marmion and substitute Rory Parata scored tries for the visitors, with fly-half Jack Carty converting both Connacht touchdowns and kicking a penalty, but Wasps claimed the bonus point win thanks to tries from Kurtley Beale, Nathan Hughes, Joe Launchbury and Josh Bassett.

“The main feeling we have is that we are pretty deflated because it was a missed opportunity,” said Lam.

“We really thought we had a good chance to upset them here.

“There were enough opportunities for us there to win the game, but we didn’t make the most of them. We will just have to dust ourselves off.

“The boys know there are things we are going to get better at, and we need to get better at.”

Australian star Beale, meanwhile, revealed a sense of relief after returning from injury and making a try-scoring Wasps debut.

Beale, who was also yellow-carded, struck after just seven minutes in his first game since suffering a serious knee injury playing for Sydneybased Super Rugby franchise the Waratahs in May.

“It has been a long time coming,” said Beale, who is thought to be the Aviva Premiership’s highest-paid player.

“It was a very special moment to get out there playing for my new club and contributing the way I did. I had a little bit of a taste of everything, really!

“I have been very lucky. Wasps have been fanastic supporting me through the tough times. They have made my welcome here very settling.

“I have been able to concentrate on my rugby and try to get back to the form I was in before the injury.

“There have been some really dark days. I am just relieved that I have come out today and did my job for the team.

“Of course there are doubts, and nerves kicking in. It was important that I didn’t get carried away with the whole occasion. Overall, it is exciting to be back and doing what I love.”

Beale was harshly sin-binned for a high tackle, and Wasps rugby director Dai Young added: “I think there would be a big fine around the corner if I really said what I really thought.

“There were obstacles in the game, and the referee’s interpretation was one we had to battle with. We certainly seemed to fall on the wrong side of some decisions. Some of them were head-scratchers, to be honest.

“I said to Kurtley before the game to go out and enjoy himself.

“To go to the other side of the world to play rugby is difficult enough, but to arrive somewhere injured and having to work for six months (to recover) is really tough. It’s testament to his strength of character that he has come through that.” 

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