Wasps record their biggest winning margin in Europe’s premier competition

Wasps began their Champions Cup campaign with a comfortable win over their Italian visitors.

82 - 14
Wasps Zebre Rugby

Sat 15th October 2016
1:00 pm

Ricoh Arena Stadium European Rugby Champions Cup As it happened

After securing their try bonus on 24 minutes, they added three more five-pointers to lead by 42 points to 14 at the break. Six second-half tries took them to their highest ever score, try tally and winning margin in Champions or Heineken Cup.

Wasps took just over two minutes to take the lead, after Josh Bassett gathered a clearance kick 15 metres inside the Zebre half. He came infield and the ball was controlled through a series of phases, with Nathan Hughes making a characteristic marauding charge and Kyle Eastmond putting in a threatening diagonal run. After the defence had been stretched on both sides, Danny Cipriani moved the ball out to the right and Elliot Daly’s slick pass sent Rob Miller over for the opening score, which Cipriani converted.

A second try followed on seven minutes, after Wasps had sent a penalty to the right corner. They won the line out, Thomas Young made good ground before the ball was moved out to the left and Jake Cooper-Woolley crashed over. Cipriani again added the extra points to put his side 14-0 ahead.

Directly from the re-start, skipper Joe Launchbury showed his athleticism with an impressive burst out of defence. He made nearly 30 metres before finding Elliot Daly outside him, but the centre was forced into touch as he passed inside to Joe Simpson just short of halfway.

Three minutes later, Zebre number 8 Andries Van Schalkwyk was shown a yellow card for a tip tackle on Joe Launchbury. It took just two minutes for Wasps to make the most of their numerical superiority when Joe Simpson took Danny Cipriani’s well-timed pass to finish off a flowing move which had begun with Nathan Hughes’ powerful run from the base of a scrum 35 metres out. Cipriani added the conversion.

Despite being  a man down, the visitors showed their resolve when a driving lineout ended in a try for Federico Ruzza, who had just replaced Jacopo Sarto in the back row. Edoardo Padovani’s conversion made the score 21-7. Van Schalkwyk then returned from the sin-bin. 

Wasps secured their fourth try after 24 minutes, just two minutes outside the Heineken or Champions Cup record for the quickest ever try bonus, set last year by Stade Francais. Danny Cipriani sent a perfectly-placed kick towards the right corner. It was gathered by Frank Halai inches from the touchline. He did well to stay infield before feeding Rob Miller, who went over in the corner for his second try. Cipriani kept up his 100% record with his most difficult kick of the afternoon.

Almost immediately, Halai was the finisher after James Gaskell’s charge had split the Zebre defence. He passed outside to Joe Simpson, who cut back infield before Danny Cipriani’s long pass found Halai, who went over from 25 metres. Cipriani landed his fifth conversion taking the lead to 35-7.

Wasps were now moving the ball from their own 22, but their enterprise backfired on them when Ruzza intercepted a pass to cross for his second try of the afternoon five minutes before halftime. Padovani again converted.

Wasps responded with their sixth try in the final minute of the half. Awarded a penalty in front of the posts, they opted for a scrum. As it wheeled round to the right, Nathan Hughes did well to flick the ball up to Joe Simpson. The scrum half slipped a tackle before feeding Ashley Johnson, who powered his way over from a couple of metres. Cipriani made it 6 from 6 to leave the halftime score at 42-14.

It took just eleven seconds of the second half for Wasps to cross for their eighth try. Elliot Daly gathered Danny Cipriani’s restart and shook off a tackle to charge over from 15 metres. Cipriani’s first miss of the afternoon left the score at 47-14.

Nine minutes into the half, Carlo Festuccia’s return to the Ricoh Arena suffered a further blow when he was sent to the sin bin for a breakdown offence. MOTM Danny Cipriani then left the fray, with Jimmy Gopperth moving to fly half as Kyle Eastmond returned from a head injury assessment. Eastmond immediately produced a dazzling piece of footwork to shred the defence and set up an opportunity on the left. Josh Bassett was stopped just short of the line, but managed to offload to Thomas Young who got the ball down, but the TMO ruled no try. for a foot in touch. Wasps made up for their disappointment by stealing the Zebre lineout and skipper Joe Launchbury showed considerable strength to twist over for the try, which was converted by Jimmy Gopperth.

Wasps then made two further changes, with Tom Bristow replacing Matt Mullan and Elliot Daly’s departure allowing Alapati Leiua to make a welcome return after a lengthy lay-off for his second ACL reconstruction. The centre was immediately prominent in the build-up to Wasps’ ninth try, scored when Josh Bassett appeared out wide on the right to go over in the corner. Jimmy Gopperth’s conversion stretched the score to 61-14. Phil Swainston and Matt Symons were the next Wasps replacements, taking the places of Jake Cooper-Woolley and Joe Launchbury.

Wasps then produced the best try of the day with a glorious length-of-the field move. It was a searing burst by Josh Bassett which split the defence and his pass sent Joe Simpson over for his second try of the day. Gopperth duly added the conversion and Simpson made way for Dan Robson, meaning that Wasps had used all their replacements with nearly fifteen minutes still to play.

Twelve minutes from time, Wasps added another  spectacular try from defence. After a rare breakaway almost led to a third try for Zebre, a timely interception launched a counterattack. Dan Robson chipped into the 22 and gathered his kick, but was stopped a few metres short. The ball was recycled and James Gaskell was on hand to go over for his side’s eleventh try, which was again converted by Gopperth.

Four minutes later, Wasps broke two of their Heineken and Champions Cup records when Dan Robson took Kyle Eastmond’s outrageously good offload to go over between the posts. This took them past their record tally of 77 points and eleven tries, both achieved in the 77-17 victory over Toulouse in 1996. The 82-14 final scoreline was Wasps’ biggest ever winning margin in Europe’s premier competition, beating the 71-5 win in Treviso in 2006.

Wasps Line ups

  1. Matt Mullan
  2. Tom Cruse
  3. Jake Cooper-Woolley
  4. Joe Launchbury
  5. James Gaskell
  6. Ashley Johnson
  7. Thomas Young
  8. Nathan Hughes
  9. Joe Simpson
  10. Danny Cipriani
  11. Josh Bassett
  12. Kyle Eastmond
  13. Elliot Daly
  14. Frank Halai
  15. Rob Miller
  16. Tommy Taylor
  17. Tom Bristow
  18. Phil Swainston
  19. Matt Symons
  20. Guy Thompson
  21. Dan Robson
  22. Jimmy Gopperth
  23. Alapati Leiua

Zebre Rugby Line ups

  1. Bruno Postiglioni
  2. Carlo Festuccia
  3. Dario Chistolini
  4. Josh Furno
  5. George Biagi
  6. Jacopo Sarto
  7. Derick Minnie
  8. Andries van Schalkwyk
  9. Guglielmo Palazzani
  10. Edoardo Padovani
  11. Giovanbattista Venditti
  12. Matteo Pratichetti
  13. Tommaso Boni
  14. Gabriele Di Giulio
  15. Kayle van Zyl
  16. Tommaso D'Apice
  17. Andrea De Marchi
  18. Pietro Ceccarelli
  19. Gideon Koegelenberg
  20. Federico Ruzza
  21. Marcello Violi
  22. Tommaso Castello
  23. Carlo Canna