European Champions Cup: Wasps 51-10 Leinster

Joe Launchbury
England's Joe Launchbury returned from injury to score Wasps' second try
European Champions Cup
Wasps (15) 51
Tries: Gopperth, Launchbury, Daly, penalty try, Halai, Piutau, Johnson Cons: Gopperth 4, Jackson Pens: Gopperth 2
Leinster (10) 10
Tries: Kirchner, Reddan

Wasps secured a superb bonus-point victory over Leinster and progressed to the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup as Pool Five winners.

Champions Toulon had gone into the final round of games as group leaders, but Wasps leapfrogged them on points scored in their two meetings.

Saturday's game was evenly poised at half-time, with the hosts taking a narrow 15-10 lead.

But Wasps ran in 36 unanswered points in a superb second-half performance.

Toulon had to settle for second place in Pool Five, and go through as one of three runners-up.

Wasps will now play the winners of Pool Two in the quarter-finals and could secure a home tie, depending on Sunday's results.

Wasps thrive in the Group of Death

Wasps seemed unlikely group winners after being drawn alongside three-time European champions Leinster and Toulon, as well as last year's Premiership finalists Bath.

But the Coventry-based outfit went into the final game, against an under-performing Leinster side, knowing a win would see them through.

Dai Young's team got off to the worst possible start after only two minutes at the Ricoh Arena, when a rapid break saw Zane Kirchner go over in the right-hand corner for the visitors.

But the Irish province, who finished bottom of the pool, lost influential fly-half Johnny Sexton to concussion after only 10 minutes and their afternoon began to unravel.

Jimmy Gopperth converted his own try and England's Joe Launchbury, on his return from concussion, also went over to put Wasps ahead.

While Wasps front-rower Lorenzo Cittadini was in the sin-bin, an acrobatic inside pass by Rob Kearney saw Eoin Reddan score Leinster's second, but it was to be their final points of the match.

Daly's timely wonder-try

Elliot Daly
Elliot Daly has scored four tries for Wasps this season

Elliot Daly will head to England's Six Nations training camp on Sunday off the back of a man-of-the-match performance which included a sensational try.

The Wasps outside centre, as yet uncapped at international level, raced diagonally from 40 metres out, beating Rob and Dave Kearney, to touchdown his side's third score of the game.

The bonus point came via a penalty try and Leinster's defence crumbled again as Daly sent wing Frank Halai over.

Full-back Charles Piutau showed his pace to cross with 10 minutes remaining, before Ashley Johnson stepped off the bench to heap more misery on Leinster, who were handed their heaviest European defeat to date.

Speaking about Daly's influence on the game, director of rugby Young said: "He showed what a threat he is against the best in Europe.

"He's also been excellent at the bread and butter stuff like defence that you expect from an international centre.

"He was outstanding and while I don't select the England team, I don't think he can do any more."

Line-ups

Wasps: Charles Piutau; Josh Bassett, Elliot Daly, Brendan Macken, Frank Halai; Jimmy Gopperth, Joe Simpson; Matt Mullan, Edd Shervington, Lorenzo Cittadini; Joe Launchbury, Bradley Davies, James Haskell (capt), George Smith, Sam Jones.

Replacements: Ashley Johnson, Tom Bristow, Jake Cooper-Woolley, James Gaskell, Nathan Hughes, Dan Robson, Ruaridh Jackson, Rob Miller.

Sin Bin: Cittadini (29).

Leinster: Rob Kearney; Zane Kirchner, Luke Fitzgerald, Noel Reid, Dave Kearney; Johnny Sexton (capt), Eoin Reddan; Jack McGrath, Sean Cronin, Marty Moore; Devin Toner, Rhys Ruddock; Dominic Ryan, Jordi Murphy, Jamie Heaslip.

Replacements: Richardt Strauss, Peter Dooley, Michael Bent, Ross Molony, Josh van der Flier, Isaac Boss, Cathal Marsh, Ben Te'o.

Ref: Mathieu Raynal (France).

Attendance: 16,519

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