European Rugby Champions Cup: Leinster top Pool 2 after 20-20 draw at Wasps
Last Updated: 26/01/15 1:05pm
Leinster booked their place in the European Rugby Champions Cup quarter-finals, but Wasps were left sweating over their fate after playing out a 20-20 stalemate at the Ricoh Arena.
Ashley Johnson and Lorenzo Cittadini both spent spells in the sin bin for Wasps in the first half as Leinster amassed a 20-6 lead courtesy of tries from Fergus McFadden and Issac Boss as well as two penalty kicks.
But second-half tries from forwards Matt Mullan and Nathan Hughes saw Wasps draw level and claim two crucial points, which could still see them qualify for the knockout stages as one of the three best runners-up.
Wasps endured a disastrous start when flanker Ashley Johnson was sent to the sin bin with just 17 seconds on the clock after taking Leinster wing Dave Kearney out in the air.
Eschewing the opportunity to kick for goal, Leinster set up the line-out and spun the ball wide to the right, where McFadden took advantage of a stretched Wasps defence to score an elementary try.
As Ian Madigan slotted the extras, Dave Kearney limped down the tunnel having failed to shake off the knock from Johnson.
Andy Goode put the hosts on the scoreboard with his first penalty of the afternoon, only for Madigan to strike a three-pointer of his own moments later.
Wasps were then made to face another 10 minutes with depleted resources with prop Cittadini was shown a yellow card and Leinster fly-half Jimmy Gopperth knocked over the subsequent penalty.
Despite their personnel disadvantage Goode doubled his penalty tally, but before Wasps could get their full complement of players back Leinster were over the whitewash once more.
Replacement scrum-half Boss – on in place of the injured Eoin Reddan – crossed to give Leinster a 14-point lead, but the visitors were made to start the second half with 14 men after flanker Kane Douglas was penalised for a late hit on Johnson.
Three-time champions of Europe Leinster weathered the storm early on, but after a scoreless third quarter Wasps, roared on by their Coventry crowd, fought back to set up a grandstand finale.
Prop Mullan charged over for the Aviva Premiership side’s first try and Goode slotted the extras to bring the hosts within seven points of the Leinstermen.
The strength of Wasps’ pack continued to pay dividends as No 8 Hughes dotted down a second try and Goode’s conversion levelled the scores.
Try as they may, neither side could wrestle the advantage and clinch a decisive score, but Leinster were able to rest knowing they had done enough to reach the knockout stages.
The draw ensured the Irish province topped the group, while Wasps were left to rely on results elsewhere to see if they would qualify – although a share of the spoils meant they did finish above Harlequins, who beat Castres 47-19 in France.