European Challenge Cup: Bordeaux Bègles beat Wasps in thrilling opening fixture in France
|European Challenge Cup|
|Bordeaux (16) 40|
|Tries: Tamanivalu, Lesgourgues, Higginbotham, Buros Cons: Jalibert 4 Pens: Jalibert 4|
|Wasps (6) 30|
|Tries: Jack Willis, Kruse, Robson Cons: Searle 3 Pens: Searle 3|
A spirited Wasps display ended in defeat as they were overpowered by Bordeaux Bègles in a pulsating start to their Challenge Cup campaign.
Bordeaux built a 16-6 first-half lead in France with Seta Tamanivalu grabbing the only try of a bruising 40 minutes.
Wasps, with Joe Launchbury impressing on his return after England World Cup duty, rallied to lead 23-19 through scores from Jack Willis and Tom Kruse.
But two fine tries by the hosts earned victory despite a Dan Robson score.
Two-time Heineken Cup winners Wasps were playing in the second-tier European competition for the first time since the 2013-14 season following last season's Premiership struggles.
And they looked like starting with a win after turning the game around following a cagey first period,
Matthieu Jalibert slotted two penalties to put Bordeaux 6-0 ahead and added a third to make it 9-6 after his fellow fly-half Billy Searle had kicked the visitors level.
But Searle then spilled a high kick which allowed Tamanivalu to cross for a simple close-range finish after a wonderful run and offload by Cameron Woki on the right.
Willis and Cruse both powered over after as the Wasps pack showed their quality on the restart, however the class, guile and strength of Bordeaux told in the closing stages.
Yann Lesgourgues went over after a blistering break by Fiji centre Semi Radradra and Scott Higginbotham's converted try seemingly wrapped up the win at 33-23 with less than 10 minutes left.
Still there was time for Robson to bring hope, touching down following a jinking break from Malakai Fekitoa.
Searle's conversion left the home side's lead at only three points at 33-30, only for Jalibert to burst away and gift Romain Buros the try that earned a bonus-point win with a minute remaining of a captivating pool three fixture.
Bordeaux: Buros, Plazy, Radradra, Tamanivalu, Connor; Jalibert, Lesgourgues; Poirot, Pelissie, Kaulashvili, Tutaia, Cazeaux, Roumat, Woki, Tauleigne.
Replacements: Dufour, Ravai, El Fakir, Marais, Higginbotham, Gimbert, Meret, Seuteni.
Wasps: Miller; Watson, Fekitoa, Le Bourgeois, Bassett; Searle, Wolstenholme; Zhvania, Cruse, Owlett, Launchbury (capt), Rowlands, Johnson, J Willis, T Willis.
Replacements: Oghre, McIntyre, Alo, Cardall, Morris, Robson, Umaga, de Jongh.
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