European Challenge Cup: Lyon 20-18 Wasps - Leo Berdeu's 15-point haul sinks Premiership side

Leo Berdeu
Fly-half Leo Berdeu contributed 15 points as Lyon reached their first European final
European Challenge Cup semi-final
Lyon (3) 20
Tries: Berdeu, Charcosset Cons: Berdeu 2 Pens: Berdeu 2
Wasps (8) 18
Tries: Robson, Gopperth Cons: Gopperth Pens: Gopperth 2

Wasps' hopes of a first European final in 15 years were ended by a narrow semi-final defeat by Lyon in France.

Dan Robson produced the only try of the first half, while Jimmy Gopperth and Lyon's Leo Berdeu traded penalties as Wasps led 8-3 at the break.

Tries from Berdeu and Yanis Charcosset, either side of a Gopperth penalty, gave Lyon a 17-11 lead after an hour.

Gopperth's score after Berdeu's penalty cut the gap to 20-18, but Lyon held on to reach their first European final.

A seventh-straight win in an unbeaten Challenge Cup campaign took the Top 14 side to a final showdown with Toulon in Marseille on 27 May following their 25-16 victory over Saracens.

But Wasps will leave knowing they missed a good chance of reaching the showpiece despite a 13-point haul from Gopperth fresh from confirming his move to Leicester next season.

Jimmy Gopperth
Jimmy Gopperth, who scored 13 points, is set to leave at the end of the campaign after seven years with Wasps

Lyon were appearing in their first semi-final, while Wasps were bidding for a first European final since a 2007 Champions Cup triumph, and with so much at stake, the first half proved cagey and attritional.

After 25 scoreless minutes, with neither side close to a decent opportunity, Jacob Umaga's 50-22 kick gave Wasps a sniff of a chance and scrum-half Dan Robson took it, sniping in unopposed down the blind side as Lyon's defence switched off.

The 2003 Challenge Cup winners were made to sweat by a lengthy TMO review when Malakai Fekitoa's elbow connected, accidentally, with the head of Lyon fly-half Berdeu, but the 2015 World Cup winner escaped punishment.

The Premiership side, who beat Biarritz and Edinburgh to reach the last four, controlled much of the first half, but finally conceded five minutes before half-time when Berdeu slotted a penalty from the touchline.

Yet moments later, a deliberate knock-on handed Wasps the chance to restore their five-point cushion, which Gopperth took.

Davit Niniashvili spurned a golden chance with a loose pass as Lyon began the second half at pace, but the French side went ahead for the first time with a try out of nothing, Berdeu finishing off a wonderful flowing move before adding the extras for a 10-8 lead.

Gopperth's penalty quickly put Wasps back in front, but the lead changed hands again moments later when replacement hooker Charcosset piled over just a minute after coming on.

Berdeu missed two penalties as Lyon sought a two-score lead, but took a simple third for a 20-11 lead, the chance stemming originally from Zach Kibirige's knock-on five metres from his own line.

Dan Frost saw his breakaway try chalked off for an earlier Francois Hougaard knock-on, but with the game slipping away, Gopperth burrowed over off the back of a maul to tee up a grandstand final five minutes.

Wasps turned up the heat, but were undone by knock-ons and errors as their hopes of silverware ended in frustration.

Wasps head coach Lee Blackett told BBC Coventry and Warwickshire:

"The amount of times we got into their 22, we needed to come away with more points because I thought we controlled field position quite well.

"Then we made too many errors in the air and as a result lost field position and that just allowed them into the game.

"You come up against a team that's playing really well in the Top 14 and going well in Europe and you're really frustrated because you felt like, for large parts of the game, we were the better team.

"You can sometimes take it when you feel like you were beaten by the better side but, no disrespect to Lyon, I think anyone watching that would say we controlled large parts of that game - we just didn't get the rewards when we were down there."

Lyon: Arnold; Tuisova, Barassi, Ngatai, Niniashvili; Berdeu, Couilloud; S Taofifenua, Marchand, Bamba, Kpoku, R Taofifenua, Cretin, Saginadze, Sobela (capt).

Replacements: Charcosset, Rey, Kodela, Mayanavanua, Goujon, Doussain, Lambey, Mignot.

Wasps: Umaga; Hougaard, Fekitoa, Gopperth, Bassett; Atkinson, Robson; West, Oghre, Alo, Launchbury (capt), Stooke, Shields, J Willis, Barbeary.

Replacements: Frost, Harris, Millar-Mills, Gaskell, T Willis, Porter, Spink, Kibirige.

Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland)

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