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Heineken Champions Cup: Wasps 25-27 Clermont Auvergne


Kotaro Matsushima's try came with Wasps down to 14 men after Zach Kibirige was sin binned
Kotaro Matsushima’s match-winning try came with Wasps down to 14 after Zach Kibirige was sin binned
Wasps (20) 25
Tries: Odogwu, Bassett, Harris Cons: Umaga 2 Pens: Umaga 2
Clermont Auvergne (14) 27
Tries: Bezy, Ravai, Matsushima Con: Nani-Williams, Lopez 2 Pen: Lopez 2

Wasps were knocked out of the Heineken Champions Cup in dramatic circumstances as Clermont’s Kotaro Matsushima scored a last-minute try.

The Japan full-back dived over for a converted try in stoppage time to deny the Premiership side.

Tries from Paolo Odogwu, Josh Barrett and Ben Harris plus Jacob Umaga’s boot had kept Wasps just in front.

But Camille Lopez converted the late try to clinch a 27-25 victory and send Clermont into the last eight.

Odogwu’s early try was cancelled out quickly when Sebastien Bezy crossed for Clermont, who went into the lead midway through the first half when prop Peni Ravai powered over.

Wasps were level when Josh Barrett went in by the posts, and led 20-14 at the break after Umaga kicked two penalties.

Harris bundled over in the corner soon after half-time, but after Umaga missed the conversion Clermont reduced the gap to five points with two penalties from Lopez.

Substitute Zach Kibirige was sent to the sin-bin for a deliberate knock-on in the last minute of the 80 to reduce Wasps to 14 men, with Clermont eventually making the advantage tell when Matsushima dived over.

Odogwu unlucky not to extend Wasps’ lead

Odogwu was involved in tries at both ends in the first half, and was desperately unlucky not to extend Wasps’ lead before the break.

Paolo Odogwu touches down, but replays showed his toe had just touched the touchline before putting the ball down
Paolo Odogwu touches down, but replays showed his toe had just touched the touchline before putting the ball down

The former Sale back raced over after collecting Mike le Bourgeois’ inside pass in the fifth minute, and was then close to denying Ravai when trying to get between the Clermont prop, the ball and the ground.

Clermont were awarded the try, but the Wasps winger then looked to have scored his second when he got the ball down as he tried to squeeze in between the touchline and the corner flag.

Replays showed the 24-year-old’s boot had just scraped the line before touching down.

Part of the squad for the recent Six Nations campaign, Odogwu was watched at the Ricoh Arena by England coach Eddie Jones.

Clermont’s bench makes the difference

The French side finished the tie as much the stronger of the two sides having made a raft of telling substitutions in the second half.

And having a man advantage in the last few minutes was also vital, with Wasps’ replacement Kibirige shown the yellow card for a deliberate knock-on in the 80th minute.

Clermont’s pressure was relentless in the lead-up to Matsushima’s try, and Lopez held his nerve to slot the conversion with the last act of the match to deny Wasps their first quarter-final appearance since the 2016-17 season.

‘We’re gutted’ – reaction

Wasps head coach Lee Blackett: “Sometimes in defeats you can find positives. I thought we played well and I thought we were the best team on the field.

“I felt comfortable throughout, and it’s gutting we didn’t get over the line.

“It is a little bit frustrating having three tries disallowed but when things are not going your way, they are not going your way. We put ourselves in a position to win that game.”

Line-ups

Wasps: Minozzi; Odogwu, Fekitoa, Le Bourgeois, Bassett; Umaga, Robson; Harris, Taylor, Brookes, Launchbury, Rowlands, Gaskell, Young, Shields.

Replacements: Oghre for Taylor (63), Willis for Young (66), Kibirige for Odogwu (70), Gopperth for Le Bourgeois (75)

Sin-bin: Kibirige (79)

Clermont Auvergne: Matsushima; Penaud, Moala, Fofana, Raka; Lopez, Bezy; Ravai, Pelissie, Ojovan, Jedrasiak, Vahaamahina, Cancoriet, Fischer, Lee.

Replacements: Yato for Fischer (49), Parra for Bezy (49), Forcade for Pelissie (49), Lanen for Jedrasiak (65), Slimani for Ojovan (65), Biziwu for Ravai Kovekalou (65), Betham for Fofana (70), Nanai-Williams for Raka (70).



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