European Champions Cup: Elliot Daly helps keep Wasps hopes alive while Clermont see off Saracens

Elliot Daly scored twice for Wasps in their victory over La Rochelle while Scott Spedding's late penalty saw Clermont down Saracens

Sunday 17 December 2017 18:50
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Tom Cruse dives over the line to score for Wasps
Tom Cruse dives over the line to score for Wasps

Elliot Daly scored two tries as Wasps kept alive their hopes of progressing to the Champions Cup quarter-finals with a hard-fought 21-3 victory. Wasps avenged their 49-29 hammering at La Rochelle last weekend but this game at the Ricoh Arena was a far cry from last week’s try-scoring extravaganza in France.

The home pack shaded a titanic forward battle as the French failed to come to terms with the murky conditions until the final quarter and could only manage a penalty from Brock James in response to Wasps’ three tries. A late effort from Tom Cruse added to Daly’s pair, with Daly converting two and Danny Cipriani one.

Despite this important win, Wasps still have it all to do to qualify for the quarter-finals as they remain in third place in Pool One, three points behind Ulster and five points behind leaders La Rochelle.

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young believes his side still have a "fighting chance" of qualifying. However, Daly and centre Jimmy Gopperth left the field with leg injuries and Young admitted: "That was the only dampener of the day for us.

"Elliot has an ankle injury and he's doesn't come off for anything insignificant but he's walking about and hopefully it won't be too bad – but the next 48 hours will tell us more. Jimmy's injury appears to be a bit more serious as he has a tweak on the knee and will need a scan."

A late penalty from full-back Scott Spedding made it back-to-back victories for Clermont over Saracens in the tournament. Ben Spencer's early try helped the European champions into a 13-0 lead but the three-time runners-up chipped away at it thanks to the boot of Morgan Parra.

Scott Spedding scored the decisive penalty for Clermont

The scrum-half surpassed 500 European points as he landed five kicks to add to Spedding's long-range penalty to make it 18-13, before Alex Lozowski went over for Sarries' second try to get them back in front.

But, after Parra locked the scores, Spedding kicked Clermont to a 24-21 victory that inflicted a seventh straight defeat on Saracens, who need two wins from their final two matches to give themselves a chance of advancing to the quarter-finals.

Elsewhere, the replacement scrum-half Rhys Webb scored twice as Ospreys completed a Champions Cup double over struggling Northampton with a 32-15 bonus-point victory at a wet Liberty Stadium, while Cardiff Blues strengthened their hopes of a quarter-final place by beating Sale Sharks 14-6 at Arms Park.

PA

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