European Champions Cup: Leinster stung by Wasps at the RDS
WASPS signalled a major statement of intent at the RDS as they began their European Champions Cup campaign with a comprehensive 33-6 victory over Leinster yesterday.
Man-of-the-match Charles Piutau crowned an excellent European debut with a last-minute try, adding to earlier efforts from Christian Wade (29 minutes) and Joe Simpson (47), as Wasps became the first English club to win a European tie in Dublin since London Irish in 2009.
Wasps director of rugby Dai Young acknowledged that there was an element of ‘lady luck’ in Wade’s 29th-minute try - a cruel bounce evaded defender Dave Kearney - but he felt they were full value for their triumph against Leo Cullen’s off-colour charges.
“Obviously we had a little bit of lady luck with the bounce of the ball. It certainly could have gone either way, I understand that,” remarked Young, whose side also benefitted from some assured place-kicking from Ruaridh Jackson and Elliot Daly.
“Even in that period, we were 9-6 (in front), and probably good for 9-6. We pretty much deserved to win. I thought we were pretty much good for it right across the board, really.”
From Leinster’s point of view, their qualification hopes have been severely dented by their heaviest European home defeat since losing 27-10 against Leicester in October 1996.
Head coach Cullen described it as one of the worst days he has experienced with the province, but he nevertheless believes they can still progress from a pool that also contains Bath and defending champions Toulon.
“It’s very frustrating, very disappointing. It’s one of the worst days I’ve had being involved with Leinster for a long time,” admitted Cullen.
“We’re very, very disappointed with the way we’ve gone about and conducted ourselves today.
“I definitely feel we can qualify. We’ve lost at home in the RDS before in our first game, and qualified from the pool.
“This pool was always going to be difficult, and we’re making life very difficult for ourselves. But it’s important that we stand up now and be counted as individuals and as a collective.”
Meanwhile, Ulster’s opening fixture against Oyonnax was one of four games postponed due to events in the French capital on Friday evening, while Munster opened their campaign with a comfortable 32-7 win over Benetton Treviso.
European Rugby Champions Cup round one results
Oyonnax v Ulster (Postponed)
Saracens 32 Toulouse 7
Opsreys 25 Exeter Chiefs 13
Bordeaux Begles v Clermont Auvergne (Postponed)
Northampton 15 Scarlets 11
Racing 92 v Glasgow (Postponed)
Munster 32 Benetton Treviso 7
Leicester Tigers 33 Stade Francais 20
Leinster 6 Wasps 33
Toulon v Bath (Postponed)