Young salutes youngsters after Wasps fightback falls just short

London Wasps 23 Biarritz 26

adams park

The France scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili's 75th-minute penalty ended a gallant Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final fightback by a young Wasps side. Wasps, who had six players aged 21 or under in their team, battled back from 23-9 to 23-23 before being sunk by Yachvili, who produced a 100 per cent kicking display with four penalties and the conversions of first-half tries by the former England full-back Iain Balshaw and the South African prop Eugene van Staden.

Wasps replied with tries from the winger Christian Wade and centre Ryan Davies, the fly-half Nick Robinson kicking both conversions and three penalties.

Wasps' director of rugby, David Young, said: "At one stage we looked dead and buried but the players showed a lot of determination and a lot of guts to pull themselves back into that game. With eight minutes to go it could have gone either way. I don't think we were the better team and I don't think we deserved to win – but we could have won.

"They had that little more firepower than us and they were a bit more clinical when they had the chances. I was really proud of the youngsters, who gave everything. They showed a lot of character. The performances of Joe Launchbury and Sam Jones were huge again, it looks like something will happen every time Elliot Daly has the ball, and Jack Wallace came on and did a great job. All our players are talking about the youngsters coming through so the future looks good."

Biarritz, who will be at home to the winners of today's meeting between Brive and the Scarlets in the semi-finals, should have gone ahead in the fifth minute, when the fly-half Julien Peyrelongue and Balshaw split the Wasps defence, but the flanker Wenceslas Lauret fumbled the Englishman's final pass. Robinson then kicked a simple penalty after 12 minutes.

Balshaw was proving a real handful, but with the American wing Takudzwa Ngwenya outside him he cut inside and was halted by Hugo Southwell's crunching tackle. Robinson doubled the Wasps lead eight minutes later with a second penalty, following an inexplicable error by Balshaw. Under no pressure, he knocked the ball into touch following a kick to the corner from the scrum-half Charlie Davies.

It took Balshaw a minute to make amends with the first try. Robinson, under pressure from Ngwenya, failed to take Yachvili's restart and the Zimbabwe-born winger slipped the ball to Balshaw, who had a clear run to the line. Yachvili put Biarritz 7-6 ahead and five minutes later increased the lead to 10-6 with a penalty.

Lauret limped off after another knock-on but Biarritz were able to bring on the France back-row star Imanol Harinordoquy. Robinson's third penalty cut the deficit to 10-9 but the French club again responded quickly. Balshaw and Ngwenya linked up once more in a move which ended with Van Staden squeezing in at the right-hand corner for a try that was awarded by the television match official, Iain Ramage. Yachvili converted from the touchline.

Wasps took the game to Biarritz in the second half but Yachvili's second penalty, awarded as his forwards forced the Wasps scrum into retreat, stretched the visitors' lead to 20-9 after 52 minutes. He kicked a third penalty on the hour for 23-9 but Wasps were then rewarded with two tries inthree minutes.

After 62 minutes, Robinson's kick-through deflected off a Biarritz player and bounced into the arms of Wade, who marked his return from a three-month injury absence by racing in unchallenged. Balshaw produced a try-saving tackle on Wallace but Wasps struck again when Davies forced his way over between the posts. Robinson converted both tries and the sides were level at 23-23.

Wasps then suffered the heartbreak of Yachvili's late winning kick, which came from a penalty that was awarded for an illegal tackle on the scrum-half by Wallace.

London Wasps H Southwell (J Wallace, 42); R Haughton (T Prydie, 40), E Daly, R Davis, C Wade; N Robinson, C Davies; Z Taulafo (T Payne, 55), V Korshunov (N Morris, 58), B Broster, J Cannon (R Filipo, 75), R Birkett, J Launchbury, S Jones, M Everard (J Harris, 58).

Biarritz I Balshaw; T Ngwenya (JP Barraque, 58), C Gimenez, D Haylett-Petty, B Baby; J Peyrelongue, D Yachvili; Y Watremez (S Marconnet, 53), E Guinazu (R Terrain, 40), E van Staden (F Gomez Kodela, 40) E Lund (JB Roidot, 59; F Faure, 76), P Taele-Pavihi, W Lauret (I Harinordoquy, 33), R Lakafia, B Guyot.

Referee J Lacey (Ireland).

London Wasps

Tries: Wade, Davis

Cons: Robinson 2

Pens: Robinson 3

Biarritz

Tries: Balshaw, Van Staden

Cons: Yachvili 2

Pens: Yachvili 4

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Stiller as Derek Zoolander in the leaked trailer for Zoolander 2
film
Sport
footballArsenal take the Community Shield thanks to a sensational strike from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Arts and Entertainment
Gemma Chan as synth Anita in Humans
film
News
Keeping it friendly: Tom Cruise on ‘The Daily Show’ with Jon Stewart
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ensemble cast: Jamie McCartney with ‘The Great Wall of Vagina’
artBritish artist Jamie McCartney explains a work that is designed to put women's minds at rest
News
Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen