Champions Cup: Leinster v Wasps

Leo Cullen's defending champions begin the defence of their crown under the RDS lights

Patrick Madden Fri, Oct 12
LIVE: Champions Cup: Leinster v Wasps

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  • Good evening!

    Welcome to our coverage of Leinster's Heineken Champions Cup clash with Wasps at the RDS Arena (7.45pm kick-off).

    It's five months to the day since Leinster outbattled Racing 92 in the pouring Bilbao rain to be crowned champions of Europe for the fourth time.

    Tonight Leo Cullen's side begin the defence of their title on another miserable day in Dublin, this time against English opposition.

    The hosts are strong favourites with the bookies to add a fifth star to their jersey this season, and move ahead of Toulouse as the competition's most successful side.

    It's hard to look past them, and victory at the RDS tonight - in the 2018-19 curtain-raiser - would send an ominous message to the rest of the continent.

    We'll be bringing you all of the action throughout the evening - what better way to start the weekend?

    Come on!!!


    LEINSTER: Rob Kearney; Jordan Larmour, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, James Lowe; Johnny Sexton (C), Luke McGrath; Cian Healy, Seán Cronin, Tadhg Furlong; Devin Toner, James Ryan; Dan Leavy, Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan. Replacements: James Tracy, Jack McGrath, Andrew Porter, Scott Fardy, Seán O’Brien, Nick McCarthy, Ross Byrne, Joe Tomane.

    WASPS: Willie Le Roux; Josh Bassett, Juan de Jongh, Michael Le Bourgeois, Elliot Daly (c); Lima Sopoaga, Joe Simpson; Zurabi Zhvania, Tommy Taylor, Kieran Brookes; Will Rowlands, James Gaskell; Brad Shields, Thomas Young, Nizaam Carr. Replacements: Tom Cruse, Ben Harris, Will Stuart, Kearnan Myall, Ashley Johnson, Craig Hampson, Billy Searle, Rob Miller.

    Referee: Romain Poite

  • Callum, where are ya?
  • Leo Cullen has made nine changes to his XV tonight from the side which beat Munster 30-22 at the Aviva Stadium last weekend. Johnny Sexton returns to captain the side, while Garry Ringrose is back to partner Robbie Henshaw in midfield. All eight forwards are Ireland internationals, with  Seánie O'Brien primed for a devastating cameo off the bench. The champions' strength in depth is scary.
  • The visitors meanwhile arrive in Dublin short on a number of frontline players - among them England's Joe Launchbury, who will miss the autumn after undergoing knee surgery. Nathan Hughes is also missing - he awaits his fate after tweeting 'What a joke' during a disciplinary hearing for punching Gloucester's Lewis Ludlow. Doh.

    However, Wasps still pose a real threat in their backline, with former All Blacks outhalf Liam Sopoaga pulling the strings. He could wreak havoc with wily Springboks fullback Willie Le Roux offering another option at first receiver.

  • 10 mins until kick-off!

    Dan Leavy is out - Rhys Ruddock starts.  

  • Leavy hurt his leg in the warm-up, according to the telly.
  • Here come the teams at the RDS - Leinster's trophy waiting for them at the end of the tunnel.
  • Wasps and Sopoaga to get us underway.


  • 1 min: Sopoaga's kick is plucked out of the sky by Toner, who takes the contact before McGrath kicks from the base. Le Roux is tempted forward and can't claim in the air - Leinster have an early scrum just inside their own half.
  • 2 min: Efficient scrum from Leinster and they move it left - Henshaw with an early thundering carry up the middle. Leinster retaining the ball neatly but Wasps' line speed is good and the hosts are yet to cross halfway.
  • 3 min: Good early defence from Wasps, Leinster's spell of possession ending as Healy knocks on in contact.
  • 4 min: But Wasps' good early work comes to nothing as Brookes concedes a scrum penalty. Sexton finds touch just shy of the 22.
  • 5 min: Ryan wins the lineout and Conan rumbles. A little pick and step form Healy and Leinster are into the Wasps 22.
  • Leinster are up to 10 phases but the Wasps defence is still intense. But out of nowhere Cronin catches Gaskell napping at the fringes, he picks and snipes into the 22, arcing his run and touching down after the tackle. Excellent, opportunistic try - Leinster's hooker showing the pace of a winger.

    Sexton converts.


  • 8 min: Wasps have a lineout on the Leinster 22 but they take too long over it and referee Poite awards a free-kick to the hosts. Waste.
  • 10 min: Another Wasps lineout just outside of the home 22 - this time they use it and move the ball right. It's not the cleanest attacking set from the visitors, but they had a penalty advantage which they seem happy to go back for.

    Sopoaga will go for goal - good kick.


  • 12 min: Good Leinster restart and the ball falls back for McGrath. The hosts look to use it but Henshaw gets scragged and the ball goes loose as he looks for the offload. Poite checks with the TMO, before awarding Leinster a penalty for a deliberate knock-on, Bassett the guilty party. Sexton finds touch on the 22.
  • 14 min: Leinster move the ball off the top but the ball is slowed down, Young making a good steal on the deck and earning Wasps a pressure-relieving penalty.
  • 16 min: Good play from Wasps and they find a bit of space on the left, captain Daly carrying down the line. He's tackled by Larmour and the offload goes into touch off a blue jersey.
  • 17 min: Leinster looking to play from deep and Ringrose swings a good ball out to Larmour on the right. He scampers up the line and kicks ahead where Le Roux covers well, lumping his clearance over the stands.
  • 18 min: Good linout ball for Leinster before Conan and then Ryan make a couple of big carries. Wasps are doing a good job of spoiling though, and a scrappy passage ends in another Leinster lineout which Wasps pilfer. Daly launches a clearance downfield and Leinster are penalised for offside after Larmour returns it.
  • 21 min: Wasps run 10 phases, but it's all a bit loose and Leinster hunt down each ball carrier ferociously. Eventually Le Roux tries to pick out Daly with a kick to the left - the ball bounces and bobbles into touch.
  • 24 min: Sustained Leinster possession inside the Wasps 10 - some heavyweight carries and collisions.
  • 25 min: Sexton shows and then dances inside the 22, bringing Leinster up to 20 phases. They're on the five-metre and banging on the door until it's shifted right and Healy spills it off his bootlaces. Wasps reprieved.
  • 26 min: Wasps' five-metre scrum is reset and they are awarded a free-kick. Daly thumps a good clearance up towards halfway.
  • 28 min: Wasps scrum on their 10 out on the left and they get clean ball, moving it through the hands properly for the first time and finding Bassett who is scythed down by Ringrose. Daly puts Larmour under serious pressure and he gets collared but reinforcements arrive just in time.
  • 29 min: Van der Flier breaks the line inside the Lenister 22 and opens his lungs, finding Ringrose on his shoulder. Leinster play their way back into the Wasps' half.
  • 31 min: Inspired from Lowe. Wasps clear and it's moved to the Kiwi winger in the backfield. He ambles right and then straightens his run, splitting the Wasps' defence in two. Sexton holds his run in support but then spills the pass. That was electric.
  • 31 min: Solid Wasps scrum and Sopoaga clears well.
  • 35 min: Messy Wasps scrum on the Leinster 10. Eventually they get clean ball and look right - Sopoaga tries a big ball to Bassett on the right wing but just overcooks it.
  • 36 min: Leinster on the ball deep inside their own half. Lovely step from Ringrose who slips it off to Henshaw who bullocks his way up to the Wasps 22. The hosts in the ascendancy as half-time approaches - but there's an excellent steal from Wasps on their own five and Gaskell emerges with the ball.
  • 39 min: Wasps lineout on the Leinster 22 - Ryan makes a great steal ahead of Gaskell.
  • 40 min: Leinster playing from deep one last time. Cronin tries to find Lowe on the left   on halfway amd Sopoaga intercepts. But it was a deliberate knock-on, and he's sent to the bin!!!
  • 42 min: Leinster probing and looking for a killer score before the break. They're up to 10 phases and inside the Wasps 22.
  • TRY LEINSTER!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • A penny for Sopoaga's thoughts - he's in for a serious roasting from Dai Young at half-time. Leinster are patient, Henshaw swinging a good ball out to Lowe in space on the left. It takes two to stop him before it's worked back inside, where McGrath snipes from the base and ferrets his way over.

    Sexton converts.


  • The teams are back out for the second half - Jack McGrath on for Healy.

    Leinster have the wind now - we're back underway!

  • TRY LEINSTER!!!!!!!!!
  • Wow. Wasps gather the restart and Simpson finds a decent touch. Leinster move it off the top and Henshaw pops it to Lowe on his inside shoulder. Lowe punches through and storms deep into the Wasps 22. He has runners on either shoulder but goes it alone and crashes over to score. Costly yellow card for Wasps.

    Sexton converts.


  • 45 min: Lowe dances and kicks down the left - it doesn't come off but Leinster had a penalty on halfway after good work by Sexton. He finds a good touch.
  • 46 min: Leinster's momentum is stalled slightly after Cronin's lineout throw was crooked.
  • 48 min: Wasps work a lineout smartly down the right, using the shortside and hooker Taylor, but his offload back inside goes loose.
  • 49 min: Le Roux spies some space and finds it with a kick deep down Leinster's middle. Sexton covers inside but his touch finder isn't the cleanest and Wasps have a lineout in home territory.
  • TRY LEINSTER!!!!!!!
  • What a score that is. Leinster play from their 10, Sexton works a loop with Toner before finding Furlong. Furlong carries and straightens his line, taking three white shirts out of play, and offloads to Lowe. Lowe surges down the left flank and unselfishly looks back inside for Luke McGrath, who scampers over for his second score. Bonus point in the bag.

    Sexton converts.


  • 56 min: Leinster try to rumble over in the left corner but Wasps do enough to force them into touch.  

    The good news for Wasps - Furlong's work us done for the night. The bad news? Sean O'Brien is coming on for a dance, replacing Van der Flier.

  • 58 min: Wasps have a scrum just outside their 22. They get clean ball but de Jongh is swamped by blue shirts and Leinster turn it over. A fifth try looks inevitable until Porter spills forward a short ball on the five. Wasps can't get out.
  • 59 min: Wasps hooker Taylor is taken off - he made a staggering 27 tackles during his hour on the pitch, more than the whole Leinster pack combined.
  • TRY LEINSTER!!!!!!!
  • Leinster are really enjoying themselces here. Ryan runs a brilliant line from deep and finds Luke McGrath. From the next phase the hosts work the shortside and Sexton flicks the ball through his legs to Henshaw, who plays in Lowe for his second try. Sublime.

    Sexton nails a trick conversion.


  • 64 min: Toner is replaced by Scott Fardy. Not a bad sub.
  • 65 min: Young bails out Wasps with his sixth turnover of the match. The penalty is sent to touch deep inside the Leinster 22 - a chance.
  • 66 min: Wasps win their lineout and set the maul. They keep it in the tight and try to hammer their way over the line - Leinster's defence is resolute.
  • 67 min: Wasps up to 15 phases but they rush it down the shortside, Le Roux's short flipped pass to de Jongh goes forward.  
  • 68 min: Solid Leinster scrum and Conan carries from the base. It's shipped back to Lowe and he clears up to the Wasps 10-metre.
  • 70 min: Shields isn't released in the tackle so Wasps have a penalty - but it finds Lowe instead of touch. He finds another mighty clearance down the left.

    Sexton gets a standing ovation as he's replaced by Byrne.

  • 71 min: This time Young is penalised for his work on the floor - on his own 22 - and Byrne finds touch with the penalty.
  • 72 min: Five-metre lineout for Leinster. They secure it and move it left.
  • Leinster come back to the right, Larmous swooping in behind a decoy runner and dancing over for his first Champions Cup try.

    Byrne converts.


  • This is an absolute drubbing. Good vision from Larmour in midfield and he sends a bounce pass to Ringrose on the left. He carries and then pops it back inside for Henshaw, his midfield partner having enough momentum to cross the whitewash.

    Byrne's conversion just tails wide on the right.


  • 78 min: Referee Poite gets barged over by Ruddock and lands in a heap on the floor. And then he gets a HIA! He's back on his feet but is done for the evening, and presumably now faces return-to-ref protocols.
  • TRY LEINSTER!!!!!!
  • This time the forwards do the damage. Leinster mauling their way into the Wasps five-metre before Jack McGrath plops over the line. 50 up for the boys in blue.


  • Well, that was quite a performance. The defending champions have sent a serious message to the rest of Europe tonight.

    Gerry Thornley's match report will be live shortly - and we'll be back tomorrow as Munster and Ulster look to follow suit.