Connacht v Wasps

Pat Lam's side need another inspiring European performance against Wasps at The Sportsground

Emmet Riordan Sat, Dec 17
LIVE: Connacht v Wasps

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  • Good evening and welcome to live coverage of the Champions Cup Pool 2 between Connacht and Wasps from The Sportsground in Galway.

    Pat Lam's side returned empty-handed from Coventry last week after a 32-17 defeat that saw the English side claim a bonus point.

    Speaking of bonus points, Toulouse wrapped up one inside 23 minutes as they put Zebre to the sword 54-15 at Stade Ernest Wallon in Saturday's game to go a point clear of Wasps at the top.
  • Here's how the table stands ahead of kick-off at The Sportsground, with Connacht needing another big European night like their brilliant opening day win over Toulouse.

  • It looks like a beautiful evening for rugby in Galway and Gerry Thornley has made his way to The Sportsground for the game and will be filing his report later on.

    In his preview Gerry points out how Connacht must find a way around Wasps' umbrella defence by mixing it up a little.

  • They are not helped by the absence of 19 players through injury, with just nine fit backs forcing Lam into naming a 6-2 split of forwards to backs on the bench.

    Even still, Connacht start 10 of the side that lined up in last year’s Pro 12 final.

    Dubliner Brendan Macken is named alongside Australian star Kurtley Beale in the Wasps midfield, while Macken's former Leinster colleague Marty Moore starts on the bench.

    Here are tonight's line-ups

    CONNACHT: Tiernan O’Halloran; Niyi Adeolokun, Rory Parata, Bundee Aki, Matt Healy; Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion; Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham; Ultan Dillane, Quinn Roux; Eoin McKeon, Nepia Fox-Matamua, John Muldoon (capt).

    Replacements: David Heffernan, JP Cooney, Conor Carey, Lewis Stevenson, Sean O’Brien, Caolan Blade, Danie Poolman, Naulia Dawai.

    WASPS: Rob Miller; Christian Wade, Brendan Macken, Kurtley Beale, Josh Bassett; Jimmy Gopperth, Joe Simpson; Matt Mullan, Tommy Taylor, Jake Cooper-Woolley; Joe Launchbury (capt), Kearnan Myall; Ashley Johnson, Thomas Young, Nathan Hughes.

    Replacements: Alex Rieder, Tom Bristow, Martin Moore, James Gaskell, Guy Thompson, Dan Robson, Alapati Leiua, Frank Halai.

    Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France).

  • And here's a look at the tale of the tape between the two sides as we count down to kick-off in Galway.

    If you're at the game or just tuning in, drop us a line using Contact Us tab at the top of the blog.

    Results so far: Connacht – W 23-21 v Toulouse (h); W 52-7 v Zebre (h); L 17-32 v Wasps (9a). Wasps – 82-14 v Zebre (h); D 20-20 v Toulouse (a); W 32-17 v Connacht.

    Leading try scorers: Connacht – Stacey Ili 3. Wasps – Josh Bassett 3.

    Leading points scorers: Connacht – Jack Carty 18. Wasps – Jimmy Gopperth 32.

    Betting (Paddy Power): 15/8 Connacht, 22/1 Draw, 4/9 Wasps. Handicap odds (Connacht +5pts) 10/11 Connacht, 22/1 Draw, 10/11 Wasps

  • Stuart Barnes pointing out Connacht's misfiting lineout in Europe this season. It's a big night for Ultan Dillane and Quinn Roux as the game gets underway.
  • Ashley Johnson makes a hames of the kick-off and Connacht have a scrum inside the Wasps 22.
  • Connacht 0 Wasps 0 (2'): Penalty to Connacht after Wasps loosehead  Matt Mullan is penalised.

  • Connacht 0 Wasps 0 (3'): Jack Carty's first attempt at goal is wide and Connacht cannot afford that tonight on a perfect night for kicking.  
  • Connacht 0 Wasps 0 (6'): Jimmy Gopperth throws the ball out into touch but the former Leinster outhalf already had a penalty in the bag and he kicks deep into the Connacht half.
  • Connacht 0 Wasps 0 (7'): Bundee Aki to the fore as usual for Connacht in the early stages and some nice touches also for scrumhalf Kieran Marmion
  • Connacht 3 Wasps 0 (9'): Carty on the money from 43 metres and Connacht are off the mark  
  • Connacht 3 Wasps 0 ('10): A settler for Carty so and Connacht are attacking from deep from the restart, laying out their stall early on at The Sportsground.  

  • Connacht 3 Wasps 0 (11'): It ends with a Matt Healy knock-on and Wasps have a scrum on the Connacht 22

  • Connacht 3 Wasps 0 ('12): Joe Simpson knocks on after trying to run over Marmion in a battle of the number nines.

  • Connacht 3 Wasps 0 (13'): Wasps skipper  Joe Launchbury punctures a hole in the Connacht cover but Marmion takes him low and gets him down. Wasps make big ground and Simpson looks like he has got over after great work by the backrow.  

  • Connacht 3 Wasps 5 ('14) - TRY WASPS

  • Connacht 3 Wasps 7 ('14): Gopperth makes the conversion and Wasps take the lead.  

  • Connacht 3 Wasps 7 ('16): Healy makes a good break but there's some scrappy passing in the backline so far.

  • Connacht 3 Wasps 7 ('18): Kurtley Beale gets in on the dodgy pass theme of the evening and Connacht push Wasps back.  

  • Connacht 3 Wasps 7 (20'): The opening quarter has been a handling nightmare for both sides. Maybe they are missing the rain, mud and a force seven gale at The Sportsground.

  • Connacht 3 Wasps 7 (21'): Wasps have a kickable penalty but they decide to go for the cormer through Gopperth's boot.

  • Connacht 3 Wasps 7 (22'): Dillane penalised and Wasps have another penalty. They go back to touch.  

  • Connacht 3 Wasps 7 (23'): Ashley Johnson is held up over the line and Wasps have a scrum five

  • Connacht 3 Wasps 7 (24'): Tiernan O'Halloran has received a yellow card as Wasps turn the screw as the pressure grows  

  • Connacht 3 Wasps 7 (25'): Brilliant work from Connacht skipper John Muldoon as he reaches in to steal the ball from the Wasps maul.

  • Connacht 3 Wasps 7 (26'): Simpson tries to disrupt Marmion's pass and gets a boot on the ball but Jerome Garces decides the Wasps player was offside.

  • Connacht 3 Wasps 7 (28'): Thomas Young the latest player with a dose of the butter fingers. It's a poor quality game so far to be honest, riddled with errors.

  • Connacht 3 Wasps 7 (29'): Brilliant break from Bundee Aki raises the crowd at The Sportsground and Connacht are back in Wasps' half.  

  • Connacht 6 Wasps 7 ('32): Connacht's pressure results in a penalty and Carty narrows the gap to a single point  

  • Connacht 6 Wasps 7 (34'): Gopperth again throws the ball into touch and Connacht are back to 15 men after a good 10 minutes with 14 on the pitch.

  • Connacht 6 Wasps 7 (36'): Simpson is penalised and Connacht attack from the lineout maul

  • Connacht 6 Wasps 7 (36'): Try yes or no for Connacht asks Garces, saying he could not see it. It's hard to see anything.  

  • Connacht 6 Wasps 7 (37'): "Ze are all the angles Jerome" - No try, scrum 5 to Connacht  

  • Connacht 6 Wasps 7 (38'): Wasps tighthead Jake Cooper-Woolley is warned after the scrum goes down. The English side do much better the second  time around.


  • Connacht 13 Wasps 7 (Half-time): Connacht with a lovely lineout move and Carty dinks a great kick over to Danie Poolman, who touches down in the corner. And Carty lands the conversion as the half-time whistle is blown.  

  • Connacht 13 Wasps 7 (Half-time): Perfect timing from Connacht as they end a scrappy first half with an opportunist try as sub Poolman goes unnoticed except for Carty, who found him with a perfect kick. Huge momentum shift just after Wasps blew away an attacking Connacht scrum. Join us again in 10 minutes for the second half.

  • Connacht 13 Wasps 7: The second half is underway at The Sportsground. Can Connacht keep the momentum going after scoring a try just before the break? Let's see shall we!  

  • Connacht 13 Wasps 7 (41'): Matt Healy has returned to the side for Poolman

  • Connacht 13 Wasps 7 (44'): Good early pressure from Connacht as they make their way into the Wasps 22. Good move ended with a knock-on

  • Connacht 13 Wasps 7 (45'): Aki and Marmion both run it up the guts but Simpson eventually steals the ball for Wasps

  • Connacht 13 Wasps 7 (47'): Joe Simpson, who is having a huge game for Wasps, with some great covering. Jimmy Gopperth not so smart as he kicks straight to touch.  

  • Connacht 13 Wasps 7 (50'): Brilliant work from Tommy Taylor (sounds like a name from a nursery rhyme) ends some good momentum from Connacht after Marmion and Dillane made gains.

  • Connacht 13 Wasps 10 (54'): Scrappy period of play ends with Wasps winning a kickable penalty. The former Leinster man drives it through the posts.

  • Connacht 13 Wasps 10 (58'): Connacht again undone by poor handling as Roux knocks on. Advantage played as Wasps have the ball  

  • Connacht 13 Wasps 10 (59'): Nasty collision between Connacht's Niyi Adeolokun and Jake Cooper-Woolley. Looks like a high tackle.

  • Connacht 13 Wasps 10 ('59): Officials believe it was accidental and it's probably the right call even if the Connacht crowd disagree.  

  • Adeolokun did twist in the tackle and Cooper-Woolley comes off worst, going off for a HIA. Scrum Connacht.  
  • Connacht 13 Wasps 10 (61'): Connacht penalised at the scrum and Wasps again show their dominance in the pack. Marty Moore on for Cooper-Wooley but Gopperth's penalty kick hits the post and goes wide.

  • Connacht 13 Wasps 10 (62'): Connacht under some pressure just now and you feel the next 10 minutes will be key to the outcome of this game

  • Connacht 13 Wasps 10 (64'): 80% possession for Wasps in last 10 minutes and their bench has some impact on it. But Connacht force a mistake as Miller knocks on

  • Connacht 13 Wasps 10 (65'):  Scrum on Connacht put-in goes down but Garces just resets. More solid the second time as Connacht spread it along the backline. The first strains of 'The Fields of Athenry' can be heard.

  • Connacht 13 Wasps 13 (68'): Connacht off their feet and Gopperth levsls the scores

  • Connacht 13 Wasps 13 (69'): Like last week, Connacht are starting to fade and need a mighty last 10 minutes

  • Connacht 13 Wasps 13 (71'): Wasps puncturing huge holes in Connacht now


  • Connacht 13 Wasps 13 (72'): Brilliant from Connacht as Aki spots his moment to steal the ball at a ruck

  • Sarah newell Bring it on home boys!
  • Connacht 13 Wasps 18 (72'):  Josh Bassett goes over as Wasps destroy the Connacht put-in

  • Connacht 13 Wasps 18 (74'):  Gopperth pulls the kick but this second half has come down to the packs and Wasps dominance has been complete

  • Connacht 13 Wasps 18 (74'):  Referee Jerome Garces pulled a hamstring during that try and has to be replaced

  • Mathieu Reynal takes the whistle for the final 6 minutes
  • Connacht 13 Wasps 18 (75'): And he blows it first to award Wasps a penalty after Connacht lose possession  

  • Connacht 13 Wasps 18 (76'): Connacht win a lineout penalty and Carty will kick his side upfield looking for a try

  • Connacht 13 Wasps 18 (78'): But they lose the lineout and Joe Launchbury claims the ball. New man Dawai helps Connacht it back though  

  • Connacht 13 Wasps 18 (78'): Scrum to Connacht and this looks like their last chance

  • Connacht 13 Wasps 18 (79'): Connacht have the ball and are into the Wasps 22

  • Connacht 13 Wasps 18 (80'): But Wasps claim the ball back and that looks like game over  

  • Connacht 13 Wasps 18 (80'): Connacht win a penalty and have one last chance!!

  • And they go for the corner and the lineout
  • Connacht claim and maul for the line
  • Connacht 18 Wasps 18 (80'): Amazing as Dawai gets over and Carty will have a chance from the sideline to win the game

  • Connacht 20 Wasps 18 (80'): CARTY MAKES THE CONVERSION

  • Connacht 20 Wasps 18 (full-time):

  • Amazing ending and what a great kick from Carty as the crowd invades the pitch in Galway.
  • Connacht 20 Wasps 18 (full-time): That Connacht never say die attitude to the fore again. Everything was going Wasps' way in the final quarter until the very final play and Connacht got over in the corner. And Carty, with a kicking percentage of less than 50% in the competition this year, nails the conversion. WIN-DERFUL stuff.  

  • Jack Carty: "Look at this supprt, it's phenomenal. My kicking has been one of my weaknesses. It's one of the ones on the sideline and there was a bit of a breeze, I knew it was over straight away."
  • Bundee Aki: "Never in doubt"
  • Aki named the man of the match  
  • Okay we're going to wrap things up and Gerry Thornley will put a crazy ending at the Sportsground into words and we'll have it on the site once it arrives. But that's not the end of today's Champions Cup rugby feast. Join Eamon Donoghue for live coverage of the meeting of Leinster and Northampton  at the Aviva Stadium
  • Read Gerry Thornley's report from The Sportsground.