Wasps have taken the 20th and final place among Europe’s elite next season after seeing off Stade Francais with a stirring second-leg win. The Premiership side edged last week’s first leg at Adams Park 30-29 but arrived in Paris as underdogs to complete the line-up for next season’s European Champions Cup.
Wasps let their intentions be known from the outset as Tom Varndell scored in the corner after six minutes. James Haskell and Alexandre Flanquart were sent to the sin bin after Josh Simpson saw a try chalked off, but Andy Goode’s kicking meant Wasps boasted a five-point aggregate lead at the break. In the second half, after Antoine Burban saw yellow, Wasps stretched their lead as Guy Thompson completed a fine team move. Goode converted and hit a 40-metre penalty after Michael Van Vuuren was also sent to the sin-bin.
Wasps started Thompson at No 8 after Nathan Hughes returned to Fiji for his wedding. After the creation of the seventh-placed play-off, he postponed his trip so he could play in the first leg when Goode’s match-winning penalty in the final act at saw Wasps draw first blood.
Goode was on target yesterday, converting after Varndell crossed for the first score. The fly-half failed with a penalty before Jules Plisson knocked over a three-pointer for Stade, who were then lucky not to fall further behind. Varndell intercepted and played out wide for Simpson to run the length of the pitch before scoring under the posts. But a high tackle from Thompson saw the try chalked off after referring to the TV match official, whose decision saw Haskell and Flanquart sent to the sin bin for their reaction in the dead-ball area. Plisson and Goode exchanged penalties before half-time.
In the 54th minute, Burban was given a yellow for a late hit on Goode. A Varndell try was scratched off but Wasps soon deservedly pulled further ahead as Haskell offloaded to Ashley Johnson, who returned favour for Thompson to dive over the line.
Goode added the extras and Stade’s miserable afternoon continued as Van Vuuren was sent to the sin bin as they were again reduced to 14 men, with the fly-half sending over the penalty.
Stade Français: Bonneval (Steyn, 74); Arias, Nayacalevu, Danty, Ioane (Bosman, 29) Plisson, Fillol (Dupuy, 50); Van der Merwe (Taulafo, 62), Sempere (Van Vuuren, 72) Kubriashvili (Slimani 44), Flanquart (Van Zyl, 68), Pape, Burban, LaValla (Lyons, 50), Parisse.
London Wasps: Masi; Helu, Daly, Bell, Varndell, Goode (Carlisle, 78), Simpson (Davies, 78); Mullan (McIntyre, 76), Festuccia (Lindsay, 74), Swainston (Vea, 76) Launchbury, Palmer (Myall, 71), Johnson (Jackson, 74), Haskell, Thompson (Hayter, 78).
Referee: Nigel Owens (RFU).