Wasps snatch last-gasp victory over Toulouse at the Ricoh Arena

Wasps’ chances of reaching a third Champions Cup Quarter Final in three years were dangerously close to being dealt a lethal blow, as they trailed 14-10, inside the final minute. 

17 - 14
Wasps Stade Toulousain

Sat 14th January 2017
3:15 pm

Ricoh Arena Stadium European Rugby Champions Cup As it happened
Cometh the hour, cometh the man and Dan Robson was the man, although the collective spirit of the whole squad was also something to behold. After a long advantage for a Wasps penalty deep inside the Toulouse 22, the second-half replacement took a quick penalty and darted through a gap to stun the French side and  snatch the most dramatic of last-gasp victories. He was duly named MOTM and the result takes Wasps to second place in the pool, a point behind Connacht, who travel to Toulouse next weekend. A bonus point win at Zebre should guarantee a place in the last eight and possibly even a home Quarter Final.

Wasps had the first scoring opportunity in the fourth minute after counter-attacking from deep. Jimmy Gopperth chipped over the Toulouse backs just outside the Wasps 22 and Christian Wade gathered at pace. When he came infield, Kurtley Beale and Joe Simpson continued the move, but the final pass out to Josh Bassett lacked accuracy and allowed the defence to regroup and win a breakdown penalty.

Two minutes later, Simpson pounced on a loose ball to break out of his half. He passed inside to Bassett, who deflected the ball into the hands of Thomas Young. The flanker raced clear, but the referee ruled that the deflection had gone forwards.

With ten minutes gone, a powerful Toulouse scrum drove the Wasps pack back into the 22 to win a penalty. From 30 metres directly in front of the posts, Jean-Marc Doussain sent his kick wide. The fly-half then compounded his miss by dropping Cipriani’s 22 restart just inside the Wasps half. Cipriani then found a gap in the Toulouse defence to take play into the 22. Wasps went through a series of phases before a penalty was conceded and Toulouse cleared to halfway.

Toulouse posed their first serious threat on 16 minutes, when Yann David blasted his way through midfield to take play deep into the Wasps 22. Recycled ball was moved out to the left and full-back Maxime Medard was bundled into touch in the corner. Ashley Johnson’s long throw was won at the rear and Joe Simpson put in a long clearance.

Medard then found touch in the Wasps 22 with a monster kick from his own 22. This time Johnson’s long throw missed the jumper, but Toulouse were unable to control the loose ball and Wasps escaped from the danger zone.

With 23 minutes gone, Medard came into the line to break away down the right. He was stopped deep inside the Wasps 22 and a penalty was eventually conceded15 metres in from the touchline. Doussain again missed the target, pulling his kick outside the right-hand post. Toulouse continued to apply the pressure, but a pass went astray inside the 22. Ashley Johnson pounced on the loose ball and Wasps launched a counter-attack down the left, eventually winning a penalty on halfway.

Lineout ball was won, the ball was moved out towards the right and a penalty was won fifteen metres in from touch. Jimmy Gopperth's kick gave Wasps the lead with 11 minutes of the half to play. A minute later, Danny Cipriani earned a huge cheer when he tackled the massive Toulouse number 8 Francois Cros to win a penalty 15 metres inside the Wasps half.

Three minutes before the break, a high tackle on Josh Bassett gave Wasps a penalty just inside the Toulouse half, but the lineout was stolen. Wasps were then penalised at the breakdown and Toulouse found touch, just inside the home 22 with only seconds of the half remaining. They won the lineout and drove towards the line, only to spill the ball and end the first forty minutes of an absorbing clash between the pace of Wasps and the power of the visitors.

Joe Launchbury’s superb take from the second half restart gave Wasps possession and Kurtley Beale’s long kick forced Maxime Medard to run into touch on the Toulouse 22. Wasps made a strong drive from the lineout, but the ball was buried a few metres from the post, giving Toulouse the scrum put-in. They won possession and cleared to the ten-metre line. Before the lineout, Dan Robson replaced Joe Simpson who had picked up a knock, and Robson's quick, flat pass immediately created the space for Jimmy Gopperth to go through a gap in midfield. As he entered the 22, he veered out to the left, but there was no support and a breakdown penalty was conceded.

Wasps then attacked down the left where Josh Bassett chipped over the defence, but was unable to gather a few metres from the line. Toulouse counter-attacked and appeared to have numbers on the left, but a knock-on just outside their 22 ended a threatening move. The attacking opportunity was cut short by another mighty Toulouse scrum which won them a penalty. The kick missed touch and Kurtley Beale sent a well-placed kick into touch just outside the Toulouse 22.

After Matt Symons came on for Kearnan Myall, the Toulouse pack took them into the Wasps 22 and the pressure eventually told when Yoann Huget went over near the posts after a series of powerful drives for the line. Doussain converted to give his side a 7-3 lead after 52 minutes. Within a minute, Wasps suffered another blow, when Christian Wade was shown a yellow card for a tackle on Francois Cros which took the number 8 past the horizontal.

Two minutes later, Jimmy Gopperth couldn't quite slot the penalty attempt to narrow the gap to a single point, when his 35-metre penalty drifted wide. Toulouse then won a penalty just inside their own half. Gael Fickou went for the posts, but his kick was short.

A minute later, Wasps won a breakdown in midfield and Dan Robson’s short pass fed Elliot Daly. His footwork took him clear of Thierry Dusautoir's attempted tackle and he had the pace to outstrip the defence and run in from halfway to touch down between the posts. Gopperth made no mistake with the conversion to put Wasps 10-7 ahead with 17 minutes still to play. Before the restart, Christian Wade’s return from the sin bin gave Wasps a further boost and Matt Mullan made way for Simon McIntyre. McIntyre’s first scrum, inside the Wasps 22, yielded a valuable penalty.

Another lost lineout led to a Toulouse penalty, which was sent deep into the Wasps 22. The initial drive was joined by the backs and 12 Toulouse players were involved as it forced its way over. The referee awarded a debatable penalty try and yellow card to Danny Cipriani, after it was adjudged he came in at the side of a maul. Doussain’s conversion put his side 14-10 ahead with only eight minutes to play.

Wasps responded immediately, moving the ball out wide to the left, but possession was spilt a few metres from the line. The scrum produced a free kick to Toulouse, who found touch 15 metres inside their half.

With time ticking away and their Quarter Final dreams under threat, Wasps threw everything into a desperate last assault. An apparently deliberate knock-on by Yoann Huget thwarted one attack, but the referee played a long advantage before the TMO advised him that it had not been deliberate.

Toulouse were then immediately caught offside in midfield. With advantage being played again, the ball was moved out to the left where Christian Wade was stopped by an apparently high tackle by Semi Kunatani just short of the line. The referee blew his whistle and indicated where the offside penalty should be taken. With the defence possibly expecting Kunatani's tackle to be referred to the TMO, Dan Robson took a quick tap to catch them napping and dived between Yohann Maestri and Richie Gray  to touch down for the winning try. Jimmy Gopperth’s conversion was the last act of the game and Wasps travel to Zebre knowing that they are still on course for their third consecutive quarterfinal.

Wasps Line ups

  1. Matt Mullan
  2. Ashley Johnson
  3. Martin Moore
  4. Joe Launchbury
  5. Kearnan Myall
  6. Thomas Young
  7. Guy Thompson
  8. Nathan Hughes
  9. Joe Simpson
  10. Danny Cipriani
  11. Josh Bassett
  12. Jimmy Gopperth
  13. Elliot Daly
  14. Christian Wade
  15. Kurtley Beale
  16. Ed Shervington
  17. Simon McIntyre
  18. Phil Swainston
  19. Matt Symons
  20. James Gaskell
  21. Dan Robson
  22. Kyle Eastmond
  23. Frank Halai

Stade Toulousain Line ups

  1. Cyril Baille
  2. Christopher Tolofua
  3. Census Johnston
  4. Richie Gray
  5. Joe Tekori
  6. Thierry Dusautoir
  7. Talalelei Gray
  8. Francois Cros
  9. Sebastien Bezy
  10. Jean-Marc Doussain
  11. Yoann Huget
  12. Gael Fickou
  13. Yann David
  14. Semi Kunatani
  15. Maxime Medard
  16. Leonardo Ghiraldini
  17. Vasil Kakovin
  18. Dorian Aldegheri
  19. Yoann Maestri
  20. Piula Faasalele
  21. Gillian Galan
  22. Toby Flood
  23. Arthur Bonneval