Castres crush Wasps' dreams
Wasps were dumped out of the Heineken Cup after they slipped to a heartbreaking 21-15 loss to Castres.
By Rob Lancaster
Last Updated: 25/01/09 4:43pm
Wasps' Heineken Cup dreams were shattered in south west France as a late try from Thomas Bouquie saw them fall to a 21-15 defeat to Castres.
Needing at least four points to stay alive in the competition, the two-time champions suffered late heartbreak at Stade Pierre Antoine.
Having fallen behind 14-3 midway through the opening half, the Guinness Premiership side battled back to hold a slender one-point lead in the closing stages.
Dominic Waldouck's try seemed to have sealed a crucial away win, only for Bouquie to end their qualification hopes right at the death with his second try.
Perhaps Wasps should have known it wasn't going to be their day from the the moment Danny Cipriani missed a fairly straightforward penalty attempt just two minutes in.
Despite being bottom of Pool Two, Castres were in no mood to surrender on home turf and shocked their opponents with an early try.
Bouquie broke the deadlock when he finished off some fine work by centre pairing Steve Kefu and Lionel Mazars, Romain Teulet then adding the extras.
Cipriani made amends for his earlier miss by getting Wasps on the scoreboard with three points, but any hopes of pushing on for a much-needed bonus-point success were blown away when they conceded again.
After botching a line-out deep in their own territory, they held firm at the first time of asking on their own line - only to then allow Joe Tekori to break off the base of the resulting scrum and set up flanker Chris Masoe.
Left fighting for their lives, Wasps responded to falling further behind by stepping up the pace and piling the pressure on the home defence.
It was Cipriani who finally broke through, the fly-half squeezing between a Russian lock and a Georgian hooker out wide to gallop away to the line.
Josh Lewsey and Mark Van Gisbergen both went close to scoring again before the break but the second half failed to fire in the same fashion.
Castres missed a penalty attempt to extend their lead to 17-10 and Wasps were guilty of blowing a glorious chance when hooker Rob Webber knocked on with the line at his mercy.
Yet with time ticking away Waldouck produced a solo burst down the right flank to score a crucial try that gave the visitors the lead for the first time.
The centre injured himself in the efforts of grounding the ball and although his game was over, Wasps at that stage looked to be very much still alive in their bid to be crowned kings of Europe again.
They may well have thought they were in the clear when Bouquié missed a penalty with eight minutes to play. However, the Frenchman made amends with the game-winning try soon after.
Making use of space on the left wing due to the absence of Paul Sackey through injury, the number 15 surged through a soft tackle from Van Gisbergen to get over for Castres' third score.
Teulet converted to hammer the final nail into the Wasps coffin, not just in terms of their Euro campaign but possibly also in terms of their entire season, considering their current struggles in domestic action.