Amlin Challenge Cup: London Wasps 28-48 Leinster

Wasps (15) 28

  • Tries: Wade 2, Varndell 2
  • Con: Robinson
  • Pens: Robinson 2

Leinster (20) 48

  • Tries: D'Arcy, Madigan, Ross, Kearney, Nacewa
  • Cons: Madigan 4
  • Pens: Madigan 5

Leinster proved too good for Wasps as the outgoing European champions reached the last four of Europe's second-string Amlin Challenge Cup in style.

Christian Wade scored a brace of fine first-half tries for the hosts.

But scores from Gordon D'Arcy and Ian Madigan, plus 10 points from the boot of the latter, made it 20-15 to the Irish province at the break.

And Mike Ross, Rob Kearney and Isa Nacewa tries saw the visitors pull well clear despite Tom Varndell's brace.

Leinster's bid to win the Heineken Cup for a fourth time in five years came to an end in the pool stages this season after they could only finish second behind Clermont Auvergne in their group.

Challenge Cup last eight

  • Perpignan 30-19 Toulouse
  • Wasps 28-48 Leinster
  • Gloucester 31-41 Biarritz
  • Bath v Stade Francais (Sat 13:00 BST)

The Dublin-based side may consider the Amlin Challenge Cup a poor substitute for the real thing, but if so they did a good job of hiding it in a hugely entertaining encounter in High Wycombe.

Wasps flyer Wade produced the most eye-catching individual performance on the night but Leinster's superior power, once they tightened up in the second half, made the difference in the end.

The game started in explosive fashion - before continuing in much the same vein for the full 80 minutes - with both sides crossing the whitewash inside the first six minutes.

Wasps were the first to strike and it was a score made in Italy with centre Andrea Masi, who had such a fine Six Nations for the Azzurri at full-back, scything through the Leinster defence and feeding the overlapping Wade for an unconverted try.

But Leinster were soon in front, D'Arcy slicing through the middle from Fergus McFadden's pass to cross untouched, and Madigan added the extras.

Wasps hit back with the try of the game as Wade's searing acceleration took him past McFadden before percussive footwork saw him round Leinster full-back Rob Kearney in stunning fashion.

Robinson converted to make it 12-7 but that was to be the last time Wasps led as Leinster took control.

Madigan went over for a fine solo score of his own and his conversion and brace of penalties gave the visitors a 20-15 lead at the break, Robinson landing a penalty for Wasps in reply.

Wasps looked threatening whenever they went wide but they became increasingly starved of ball as Leinster's pack took a grip until a rally by the hosts in the closing stages when the result was a foregone conclusion.

Tight-head prop Ross made an 80m supporting run to drive over after Nacewa had broken from deep and kicked ahead, before Sean O'Brien set up Rob Kearney with a typically rumbustious run.

Madigan kept the scoreboard ticking over with an array of penalties and conversions, and Leinster were safely into the last four by the time Varndell confirmed his finishing ability with two sharp scores for the hosts.

Team line-ups

Wasps: Daly; Wade, Masi, C Bell, Varndell; Robinson, Simpson; Taulafo, Thomas, Swainston, Palmer, Wentzel, Launchbury, S. Jones, Johnson.

Replacements: Southwell for Daly (50), S. Jones for Masi (74), Davies for Simpson (67), Payne for Taulafo (67), Lindsay for Thomas (58), Taylor for Swainston (62), Vunipola for Palmer (50), Poff for S Jones (37).

Leinster: R Kearney; D Kearney, McFadden, D'Arcy, Nacewa; Madigan, Boss, Healy, Strauss, Ross, Cullen, Toner, K McLaughlin, O'Brien, J Heaslip.

Replacements: Conway for McFadden (75), Cooney for Boss (72), J. McGrath for Healy (62), Cronin for Strauss (62), Hagan for Ross (72), Roux for Toner (69), Ruddock for K McLaughlin (62).

Not Used: Goodman.

Att: 9,655