Wasps v Connacht

Connacht face daunting task against Wasps at the Ricoh Arena. Follow the action with John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan Sun, Dec 11
LIVE: Wasps v Connacht

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  • Hello and welcome to the Irish Times rugby blog. Connacht are in the Ricoh Arena in Coventry hoping to make it a clean sweep in the Champions Cup after victories for Leinster, Ulster and Munster. John O'Sullivan here and I'll be keeping you up to date.  
  • Here are the teams.


    Wasps: Rob Miller; Christian Wade, Alapati Leiua, Kurtley Beale, Josh Bassett; Jimmy Gopperth, Dan Robson; Matt Mullan, Tommy Taylor, Martin Moore, Joe Launchbury (c), Kearnan Myall, Ashley Johnson, Thomas Young, Nathan Hughes.


    Replacements: Alex Rieder, Tom Bristow, Jake Cooper-Woolley, James Gaskell, Guy Thompson, Joe Simpson, Brendan Macken, Frank Halai


    Connacht Rugby: Tiernan O'Halloran; Niyi Adeolokun, Stacey Ili, Bundee Aki, Cian Kelleher; Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion; Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Conor Carey, Ultan Dillane, Quinn Roux, Nepia Fox Matamua, Jake Heenan, John Muldoon (capt).


    Replacements: David Heffernan, JP Cooney, Finlay Bealham, Sean O'Brien, Eoin McKeon, Caolin Blade, Rory Parata, Matt Healy.


    Referee: Alexandre Ruiz (France), Assistant ref: Cedric Marchat (France), Assistant ref: Cedric Clave (France), TMO: Philippe Bonhoure (France), Citing Commissioner: John Montgomery (Scotland)

  • Former Leinster boys Marty Moore and Brendan Macken are in the Wasps lineup, Moore from the start, Macken on the bench. Hooker Tom McCartney wins his 50th cap for Connacht.  
  • Connacht on the attack. Sorry Wifi issue there for two minutes.  
  • Connacht win a penalty on the Wasps 10-metre line. Jack Carty goes to the corner.  
  • Connacht win inside the Wasps 22. Denis Buckley and Kieran Marmion carry but a pass goes astray and Wasps break out of their 22 through Nathan Hughes. He hands off Tiernan O'Halloran but the fullback recovers to win a loose ball.  
  • Wasps lineout eight metres from Connacht line after kicking a penalty to touch.  
  • Wasps two metres out.
  • TRY: Kurtley Beale on debut scores after patient pressure, goes through the tackle of Stacey Ili.  
  • Jimmy Gopperth adds the conversion.

    7 mins: Wasps 7 Connacht 0

  • Connacht should have scored a try down the far end of the pitch but then conceded one less than two minutes later. If O'Halloran had thrown a skip pass they would have been in.  
  • Connacht lose a lineout on the halfway line.  
  • Connacht look a bit frazzled at the moment. A little unsure in defence, slight doglegs in the line and are struggling to come to grips with Wasps offloading out of the tackle. Stacey Ili down injured.  
  • Connacht turn down another kick at goal and go to the corner again. The lineout has been a little iffy and right on cue they lose their second of the match. Really, really poor.  
  • Connacht show good hands and footwork to work their way back into the Wasps 22, Marmion sharp on the fringes. Wasps concede the penalty for not rolling away in the tackle.  
  • PENALTY MISS: Jack Carty pulls the 23 metre penalty left and wide. Not good.  

  • It was a relatively straight-forward chance for Carty. Lineout and place-kicking the two early issues for Connacht.  
  • Beale with a high tackle on Niyi Adeolokun. Nothing more than a penalty.  
  • Wow. Television match official has indicated a yellow card and a penalty. Beale goes to the sin bin. Wasps fans are howling in disgust.  
  • 17 mins: Yellow card, Beale. The try scorer is in the bin.

    PENALTY: Carty.

    18 mins: Wasps 7 Connacht 3

  • Referee Alexandre Ruiz has warned Wasps captain Joe Launchbury about the concession of penalties.  
  • PENALTY COUNT: Wasps have conceded six to Connacht's one.  
  • Connacht lose another lineout. That's three and it's becoming critical.  
  • Connacht offside from a ruck. Clearcut. That's really sloppy. It should be an easy three points for Gopperth. It came from Connacht's third lost lineout of the match.

  • PENALTY: Gopperth.

    22 mins: Wasps 10 Connacht 3

  • Wasps have won the first four minutes of the sin bin period 3-0, so far.  
  • TRY: Marmion
  • Connacht get a great shove on at a scrum on the Wasps 22. It wheels a little to the short side. John Muldoon takes a tackle but pops the ball up for the supporting Marmion who races over. Superb skills, great score. That's more respresentative of the Pro12 champions. Carty lands the conversion.

    25 mins: Wasps 10 Connacht 10

  • Another wonderful beak from Marmion, straight through the middle of a ruck, races 50 metres but the move peters out when Jake Heenan knocks on from a poor pass.  
  • Adeolokun shouldn't have tried to offload. Connacht need to be just a tad more patient and precise but great reaction to going behind.  
  • Outstanding rugby from Connacht as take play into the Wasps 22 but Bundee Aki is down and looks hurt.  
  • Looks to land badly. Aki looks like he's going to have to go off.  
  • Aki is back up but that doesn't look good. He's limping.  
  • Connacht have a scrum inside the Wasps 22.  
  • Connacht win a free kick for pre-engagement. Beale is back. Connacht go for another scrum, where tey have been dominant.  
  • Terrible pass from Muldoon denies Connacht a great try scoring opportunity. Heenan too should have passed soon after. Real pity because so much of what Connacht are doing in attack is excellent. Wasps win a penalty and suddenly the visitors are 15-metres from their own line.  
  • Nepia Fox-Matamua penalised and Gopperth should give the home side the lead again.  
  • PENALTY: Gopperth

    35 mins: Wasps 13 Connacht 10

  • Good news for Connacht is that Aki is running again, albeit that he's just given away a penalty for coming in at the side.  
  • O'Halloran knocks on on his 22, two Connacht errors in a minute.  

    Stacey Ili is gone, can't run off the knock so Rory Parata is on.  

  • Conor Carey has taken a knock. He's been very good in the scrum.  
  • Luke McGrath should be furious/delighted. Stuart Barnes has just said that he's one of the top props in Ireland. Jack McGrath might be a bit miffed.  
  • Last play of the half is a scrum for Connacht on their 22. They win a penalty.  
  • HALFTIME: Wasps 13 Connacht 10
  • It's been a decent half for Connacht. They might have had a couple more tries to the one scored the by outstanding Kieran Marmion if players had shown a little more composure and better peripheral vision but they're right in this match against the second placed team in the Aviva Premiership.  
  • Connacht have played the better rugby and had more of the etrritory and possession. They have lost Stacey Ili to injury and Bundee Aki is limping after a bang to the knee. Conor Carey is nursing a shoulder issue. The visitors lineout has coughed up three balls in what looks like system errors but the scrum has been dominant.  
  • In Leinster's pool Castres lead 11-10 away to Montpellier.  
  • Carey has done a job on England international Matt Mullan in the first half at scrum time.  
  • Interesting half of rugby for Kurtley Beale, a try on his comeback after being out for seven months through injury and then gets 10-minutes in the bin for a high tackle.  
  • Toulon host Scarlets later. It looks like a nice day.
  • Right on Connacht's to do list for the second half

    1. Sort out the lineout glitches.

    2. Be more patient in the Wasps 22, don't force passes.

    3. Keep attacking the fringes of rucks.

    4. Trust in the skill sets and get more ball to Adeolokun and Cian Kelleher.

    5. Cut down on basic errors.  

  • Second half is under way.  
  • Good net gain for Connacht after a kicking duel. Nice nudge from Carty.  
  • Connacht lose their fourth lineout.  
  • Good counterattack from O'Halloran, links with Kelleher but when the ball is moved across, too many hands without commiting defenders, eventually preempts an intercapt. Adeolokun throws it. Wasps forcea penalty six phases later and kick to the corner.  
  • TRY: Hughes.  
  • The difference between a lineout that functions and one that doesn't. Wasps catch and rive the lineout. Ashley Johnson makes the break before being hauled down a couple of metres out. Two rucks later, Hughes twists out of a tackle to force his way over. Gopperth adds the conversion.  

    43 mins: Wasps 20 Connacht 10.

  • All that came from a Connacht turnover at a lineout.

    Wow try Rory Parata.  

  • TRY: Parata
  • Wonderful intercept from Parata as Wasps go on the attack again, and then accelerates 40 metres to score under the posts. Carty adds the conversion.  

    46 mins: Wasps 20 Connacht 17

  • Connacht had just replaced Carey, Heenan and O'Halloran with Finlay Bealham, Eoin McKeon and Matt Healy on.  
  • Great chip through from Parata but Beale gets back ahead of Healy and Wasps clear.  
  • The first strains of the Fields of Athenry. Former Leinster centre Brendan Macken on in a temproary capacity for Wasps.  
  • Super half break by Healy but Macken did well to track him and bring him down, forcing a forward pass.  
  • Cian Kelleher gone after being clipped from behind accidentally in that sequence of play. Caolin Blade, a scrumhalf, on at fullback. Connacht mince Wasps at another scrum and force a penalty.  
  • Connacht go to the corner rather thn a kick at goal. Massive gamble.  
  • Well at least they won the ball.  
  • Connacht probe but Launchbury turns over the ball with a poach.  
  • That's so disappointing for Connacht.  
  • Jake Cooper Woolley on for Marty Moore.  
  • Healy with a knock-on. Just too many mistakes from Connacht. Simple errors.  
  • 10-minutes of dominance from Connacht and nothing to show.  
  • Right on cue. Connacht win a super ruck penalty after another excellent scrum.  
  • Launchbury with another penalty turnover. Wasps can escape their 22.  
  • Connacht are killing themselves with that lack of precision.  
  • Wonderful turnover from Nepia Fox Matamua, superb offload from Parata, great work from Adeolokun. Penalty for a high tackle. Carty will go for the posts from 28 metres.  
  • PENALTY MISS: Carty shoves it fractionally right.  

  • Sean O'Brien on for Roux. Wasps: Joe Simpson on for Robson.  
  • TRY: Launchbury.  
  • Connacht got their alignment all wrong in midfield and Launchbury runs in from about 26 metres. That'll hurt so much because Connacht have owned the ball and it comes from yet another soft turover. Gopperth with the conversion.

    63 mins: Wasps 27 Connacht 17

  • One error after another from Connacht, Adeolokun penalised for not releasing. Wasps with a penalty on the Connacht 22. The home side are chasing a fourth try and a bonus point so they kick to the corner.  
  • Connacht win a relieving penalty, Launchbury penalised for obstruction.  
  • Dave Heffernan on for McCartney.  
  • Right the boss said there aren't enough mentions of the score. Wasps 27 Connacht 17 and there are 13 minutes left.  
  • Connacht bossing the scrums and the ref wants a word with both frontrows.  
  • Another Connacht error, Parata loses the ball forward.  
  • Connacht concede another penalty. Wasps will go to the corner.
  • Super hands from the Wasps players. Bassett touches down in the corner.  
  • Referee is going to the TMO looking at a couple of things. Obstruction initially and then a forward pass.  
  • TRY: BASSETT, it's been given, rightly so.
  • 72 mins: Wasps 32 Connacht 17
  • Gopperth missed the conversion.  
  • That's really tough on Connacht but they've just offered up too many errors and have been architects of their own downfall to a degree.  
  • That's Wasps fourth try so they have a bonus point. It's 5-0 in that respect at the moment.  
  • Connacht forcing the passes, one drifts into touch.  
  • Beale gets a man of the match, Launchbury and Marmion the other contenders.  
  • Wasps coasting to the final whistle.

    There are six minutes left. Wasps 32 Connacht 17

  • Wasps win another ruck penalty and kick to the corner.  
  • Great defence from Connacht and that's a high tackle from Gaskell on Blade as Connacht break out.  
  • Can't understand why Beale got a yellow card in first galf and Gaskell didn't there. Acedmic in terms of the outcome of the match.  
  • Wasps 32 Connacht 17

    60 seconds left.

  • Brilliant for Fox-Matamua but the final and try scoring pass to Marmion doesn't go to hand. Simpson kicks the ball out.

    FULLTIME: Wasps 32 Connacht 17

  • Tough on Connacht but they didn't take chances and made too many basic errors. Showed in patches that why they can win the rematch in Galway next weekend.  
  • Injuries to Ili, Aki, Kelleher were a disruption, even though Aki did stay on.  
  • POSITIVES: Scrum was absolutely outstanding and dominant. Some excellent individual performances led by Marmion, Fox-Matamua, Parata, Buckley, Carey, Dillane. In fairness there were small margins at times and they certainly suffered a surfeit of misfortune. They are only three points behind Wasps and the teams meet again next weekend in Galway.  

    NEGATIVES: Lineout a mess, missed place-kicks arrested the momentum, too many basic errors and a failure to capitalise when in the opposition 22.  

  • Gerry Thornley's match report will be in shortly. He's just fine tuning the last few sentences.  
  • There is no doubt that Connacht can win the game in Galway. They showed that clearly enough today. For 60-minutes they were the better team but the old adage about taking chances came back to haunt them. The Connacht injuries will be a factor and Pat Lam will be hoping that he doesn't lose any players.  
  • In Pool 4, Leinster's a 14-man Montpellier beat Castres 32-14 at home to move to within a point of the Irish province at the top of the pool.  
  • Feel for Connacht, Wasps flattered by the winning margin and the 5-0 points count is harsh on the balance of the play. So Lam's team will need to return the favour next weekend in Galway.

  • Thanks for your company this afternoon. The Irish Times live blog will be back next weekend to see how the four Irish provinces get on. Three wins and a defeat is a decent return with Leinster and Connacht enjoying home advantage next weekend. Munster travel to Leicester and Ulster to Clermont.