Champions Cup: Leinster v Wasps

Johnny Sexton is back in the saddle as Leinster try to plot a route to the European Cup last four

Patrick Madden Sat, Apr 1
 
LIVE: Champions Cup: Leinster v Wasps

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  • Good afternoon!

    Last season was a nadir for the provinces on the continent, with no Irish representation in the knock-out stages of the European Cup for the first time since 1997-98.

    Fast forward 12 months however, and Leinster and Munster are back where they will feel they belong. Today both sides have home advantage in the Champions Cup last eight.

    Later this evening Munster welcome the mighty Toulouse to Thomond park - a clash which, on paper at least, is about as big as it gets.

    But first up Leinster welcome Wasps to the Aviva, with Johnny Sexton back to pull the strings.

    We'll be bringing you all the action today, so get settled and enjoy Ireland's European renaissance.

    Come on!!!

  • TEAM NEWS:

    LEINSTER: J Carbery; A Byrne, G Ringrose, R Henshaw, I Nacewa (capt); J Sexton, L McGrath; J McGrath, R Strauss, T Furlong; D Toner, H Triggs; D Leavy, S O’Brien, J Conan. Replacements: J Tracy, C Healy, M Bent, R Molony, J van der Flier, J Gibson-Park, F McFadden, Z Kirchner.

    WASPS: K Beale; C Wade, E Daly, J Gopperth, W Le Roux; D Cipriani, D Robson; M Mullan, T Taylor, J Cooper-Woolley; J Launchbury (capt), K Myall; J Haskell, T Young, N Hughes. Replacements: A Johnson, S McIntyre, M Moore, M Symons, A Rieder, J Simpson, A Leiua, J Bassett.

  • 30 minutes until kick off in Dublin and the April showers have arrived.
  • This one has all the ingredients for a classic.  

    The visitors - twice champions of Europe - currently sit at the top of the English Premiership having scored 577 points in 18 games.

    The hosts - three times champions of Europe - currently sit at the top of the Pro 12 having scored 573 points in 18 games.  

  • For all the attacking prowess of the two sides - Leinster have scored 110 tries in 24 games, Wasps 101 - the battle up front is likely to be brutal today.


    Leinster boast Jack McGrath and the ever-improving Tadhg Furlong in the frontrow, with Devin Toner in the engine room and Sean O'Brien at seven.


    Wasps meanwhile are skippered by the brilliant Joe Launchbury, with James Haskell and Nathan Hughes in a powerful backrow.

  • Leinster were drubbed 33-6 and 51-10 by Wasps in the pool stages of last year's tournament - likely to be slightly different today.
  • The prize for today's winner? A semi-final trip to play Clermont or Toulon...
  • Here comes the teams in Dublin!
  • Nigel Owens in charge today. Danny Cipriani has the ball in hand.

    And we're underway!!!

  • 1 min: Byrne fields the kick off and Leinster move it left and then right, getting the ball through the hands in the early stages. Ringrose and then Henshaw make good carries before Carbery kicks and presses the covering Beale. Leinster press at the breakdown but concede a penalty.
  • 2 min: Good lineout ball for Wasps but they get turned over in midfield. Good carry from O'Brien and Leinster are up to halfway. Very bright start from the hosts, getting quick ball before Sexton spies space in behind Le Roux and kicks crossfield. Good cover from Beale and he gets Wasps out of bother.
  • 4 min: Sexton goes high with a kick and Beale spills it into touch just outside the Wasps 22. Good ball for Leinster but Launchbury slows it down - he was on the wrong side though and gets penalised.

    Chance for Sexton to get Leinster on the board - and he nails it.

    6 MIN: LEINSTER 3 WASPS 0

  • 7 min: Error from Sexton - he finds a good touch under pressure but the ball was passed back into the 22. Dangerous lineout for Wasps.
  • 8 min: First possession for Wasps inside the Leinster 22. Hughes makes a big carry and with plenty of support grunts his way inside the five metre. Good defence from the hosts though, they hold him up and are awarded the game's first scrum.
  • 9 min: Solid scrum from Leinster and Luke McGrath uses Nacewa on the blind, and he clears well with his left.
  • 10 MIN: LEINSTER 3 WASPS 0
  • 11 min: Cipriani tries to work something on the blindside but is well tackled by Triggs and his offload is straight into touch. Leinster get good lineout ball and grind towards the 10. A couple of phases later Furlong shows feet Simeon Zebo would be proud of and dances past two tackles and up to the halfway.
  • 12 min: Leinster go close - Ringrose intercepts in midfield and then pops to Henshaw who can't quite find a pass and is dragged down five metres out. Blue shirts flood in but Wasps hold on - Leinster penalty.  

    Sexton sticks the penalty into the corner but the throw from Strauss is too long and Wasps survive.

  • TRY LEINSTER!!!!!
  • Leinster really starting to stretch Wasps - Leavy makes a big carry into the 22 and the hosts are on the front foot. They have numbers left and Carbery finds Nacewa with a lovely flat ball and he is over in the corner - despite making a meal of the finish.

    Sexton is just off with the touchline conversion.

    16 MIN: LEINSTER 8 WASPS 0

  • 17 min: Leinster looking to keep the ball in hand whenever possible and they are retaining it very well thus far. Makes sense to try and starve Wasps of possession.
  • 19 min: That is sensational from the Leinster backrow. Strauss overthrows at a lineout on his 22 but blood replacement van der Flier mops up at the back. Conan then breaks from the next breakdown and offloads to O'Brien, who turns on the gas and gets up to the Wasps' 22. The hosts finding plenty of gaps.
  • 20 MIN: LEINSTER 8 WASPS 0
  • 21 min: Carbery put under pressure but Leinster are strong at the breakdown and turn it over. The counter-attack comes to an end as Sexton shins a kick into touch on halfway. Will let him off.  
  • 23 min: Carbery fields deep and then sells Cipriani with a dummy before kicking long - but the ball just dribbles into the ingoal.
  • TRY WASPS!!!
  • DISALLOWED TRY!!!
  • HA! Stunning play from Beale sees le Roux coast over the line on the left, but replays show he just lost control of the ball as he looked to touch down with a swan dive. Schoolboy. Huge let off for Leinster.

    24 MIN: LEINSTER 8 WASPS 0

  • 26 min: Sexton sticks a penalty up to the Wasps 10 and Leinster win the lineout but Toner gets pinged. The hosts are well on top here but that disallowed try showed the danger Wasps possess.
  • 28 min: Furlong picks and goes at the base and pops off for McGrath but he was just offside. Wasps clear into the Leinster 22.
  • 29 min: Wasps look to have good lineout ball but receiver Myall drops it. Solid Leinster scrum and Conan takes it from number eight, bouncing Cipriani as he goes too high in the tackle. Moments later Furlong gets pinged for tackling Cipriani off the ball - chance for Wasps to get on the board.


    Gopperth to take, and he nails the kick from the 10.


    31 MIN: LEINSTER 8 WASPS 3

  • 33 min: Leinster in possession on the Wasps 10 and Luke McGrath tries to finds touch with a boxkick but it's straight to le Roux who calls the mark.
  • TRY LEINSTER!!!!!!
  • Carbery is magic! He fields a poor Wasps kick and darts down the shortside, exchanging passes with McFadden before finding Conan down the right flank and he finishes strongly. Brilliant score and Leinster have a bit of daylight.

    Easy conversion for Sexton.

    35 MIN: LEINSTER 15 WASPS 3

  • 37 min: Wasps get past five phases for the first time before grubbering through to Carbery, who reads it well and sends a grubber of his own into touch.
  • 38 min: Beale loses a pass in midfield and gets snotted by Nacewa in the process.  
  • 39 min: Good scrum from Leinster and Nacewa kicks ahead down the shortside. Wasps scrambling and Beale tries to wriggle free - Leinster penalised at the breakdown.
  • TRY LEINSTER!!!!!!!
  • Another brilliant score from Leinster. They turn Wasps over on the left and O'Brien darts before offloading to Sexton who then finds Henshaw and he bullocks across the line. Killer blow.

    Sexton converts comfortably.

    40 MIN: LEINSTER 22 WASPS 3

  • The teams are back out in Dublin!
  • It's raining hard at the Aviva now. Sexton has the ball, and we're back underway!
  • 41 min: Single phase for Wasps from the restart and Cipriani finds a decent touch.
  • 42 min: Loose from Wasps, Cipriani's deep pass to Gopperth not finding his man and Henshaw puts the pressure on - the ball squirming out for a Leinster throw on the 22.
  • 43 min: Leinster looking to turn the screw, building the phases inside the Wasps 22. Good ball retention until Nacewa stabs a kick through which Wade touches down ingoal.
  • 45 min: Wasps have a scrum in a good spot but Haskell is penalised for his binding and Sexton - who had brief treatment on his shoulder - clears up to the 10 metre. Good lineout ball from Leinster and Ringrose carves open a gap with some lovely footwork but then Luke McGrath spills forward.
  • 48 min: Wasps and Hughes penalised after Leinster put the pressure on a Wasps scrum.  

    Chance for Sexton to put Leinster three scores clear - and he makes no mistake.

    49 MIN: LEINSTER 25 WASPS 3

  • 49 min: Leinster finding it so easy to make yards whenever they have the ball deep in their own half. The transition from defence to attack has been seamless. A brilliant kick from Nacewa puts Beale under the cosh in the right corner but his recovery is a good one - he skips the tackle and finds le Roux.
  • 51 min: Sexton tries an ambitious drop goal which is short. Cian Healy trundles on to replace Jack McGrath.
  • TRY WASPS!!!
  • Out of nowhere Wasps have one back. Leinster are turned over and replacement Johnson finds Wade on the right wing with a looping ball. Wade kicks ahead and shows brilliant pace to get there first and touch down.

    Gopperth converts.

    55 MNI: LEINSTER 25 WASPS 10  

  • 56 min: Good defensive work from Wade this time, hauling Nacewa out on the right. Leinster pinch the Wasps lineout though and have the ball deep inside the Wasps 22. The move breaks down after a knock on under the posts.
  • 57 min: Another Leinster steal and O'Brien rumbles into the 22. Sexton finds Henshaw on a lovely inside line and he nearly bursts through. Good pressure from Leinster but it's pilfered and Daly clears well upfield.
  • TRY WASPS!!!
  • Excellent score from Gopperth. He straightens his line and runs over one tackle on the 22 before holding off O'Brien and Carbery and finishing with one hand.

    Gopperth converts.

    61 MIN: LEINSTER 25 WASPS 17

  • 64 min: Leinster still dominating possession, building patiently on the 22. Sexton deploys one of his trademark loops with Furlong and finds Ringrose on the left. He draws his man but Nacewa chagres in off the wing rather than holding his line and the pass deflects out for a lineout.
  • 65 min: Carbery shows lovely feet from deep again. Leinster recycle and Ringrose takes a ball on the right and steps inside and burns his way up to the five where he's hauled down. Electric.
  • 69 min: Leinster lineout on the left and they move it quickly across the pitch, Hanshaw making a thumping carry and met by an equally big tackle from Daly. Wasps replacement Moore challenges over the top but knocks it on.  
  • 70 MIN: LEINSTER 25 WASPS 17
  • 50,266 at the Aviva today.
  • 71 min: Sexton switches the point of attack with a high kick towards the left corner. Wade does brilliantly to take it and call the mark under pressure from Nacewa. Those two have had a great battle today.
  • TRY LEINSTER!!!!!
  • Leinster's dominance of possession and territory finally tells. Gibson-Park has been busy since he came on and he gives Toner a perfect ball to run onto. McFadden picks at the breakdown and spies a gap to dive through and touches down.

    Sexton straight as a die with the conversion.

    75 MIN: LEINSTER 32 WASPS 17

  • 76 min: Wasps have the ball but any score now would just be a small consolation. There's another handling error and Leinster have a scrum inside their own 10.
  • Carbery is named man of the match - he has been excellent today.
  • 79 min: Leinster keeping it in the tight, running down the clock.
  • FT: LEINSTER 32 WASPS 17
  • Right then, thanks for joining as Leinster delivered an imperious performance to reach the European Cup last four.

    John O' Sullivan's report from the Aviva will be live shortly - I'm hopping across to bring you all the action form Thomond Park.

    See you shortly!