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


Tries: Balshaw, Van Staden

Cons: Yachvili 2

Pens: Yachvili 4

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
On set of the Secret Cinema's Back to the Future event
filmBut why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride