Wasps may live to regret not making more of a complaint when Leinster’s players appeared to be offside on Andy Goode’s failed attempt at a winning drop goal at the end of Saturday’s 20-20 draw in Coventry.
Goode blamed no one but himself for the 35-metre kick going wide – the fly-half spoke afterwards of an element of natural justice, considering Leinster’s Ian Madigan had missed four penalties and a drop – and his team accepted the ruling of the French referee Jérôme Garcès. But the upshot was Wasps finished runners-up in Pool Two. It left group winners Leinster with a home quarter-final against Bath, and Wasps a daunting challenge away to Toulon, the bookmakers’ title favourites and European champions for the past two seasons.
“We’ll take what we’ve got, we’re delighted to be in the quarter-finals,” Goode told BT Sport yesterday, speaking from Dubai where he flew for a holiday on Saturday evening.
“From where the club was in financial trouble three years ago, to now be going up against the top side in Europe, is great. Toulon have superstar players and no one will give us a chance but we love a challenge and we’ve got nothing to lose.”
Today, Wasps’ captain James Haskell will join the England squad, perhaps feeling in need of a day or two’s rest. The workaholic flanker could not have expended any more sweat in the three wins and a draw that kept Wasps in Europe and knocked their English rivals Harlequins out.
“Playing a game like that is character-building,” said Haskell. “It is credit in the bank – and hopefully we’ll get to draw that credit at some other time.
“I don’t know how many 80 minutes I’ve played in a row and after 11 years of professional rugby, bits are falling off, but I’m going pretty well. Wasps have been improving my game, and I’m going into that England set-up with real positivity.”Reuse content