LE­IN­STER LES­SON

Coventry Telegraph - - RUGBY UNION - By BOBBY BRIDGE AND JA­COB LEEKS

QUI­ETLY seething, Dai Young stated ‘the next game will show what this group is made of.’

The dust hadn’t yet set­tled on the crush­ing home de­feat to Glouces­ter when the Wasps di­rec­tor of rugby switched his fo­cus to this Heineken Cham­pi­ons Cup opener against Le­in­ster.

He got his an­swer; not enough. Nowhere near. Trav­el­ling with­out the Eng­land trio of Dan Rob­son, Joe Launch­bury and Nathan Hughes, per­haps the ex­cuse was ready made.

Mit­i­ga­tion for the de­fence in the back pocket.

Not that the Wasps di­rec­tor of rugby would ever lean on that for a ‘get out of jail’ card.

Wasps were barely in this con­test, they were sim­ply out­played. Out­classed.

Play­ers mak­ing Euro­pean rugby de­buts stepped up against sea­soned win­ners, a team of cham­pi­ons. The cream in­evitably rose to the top. With Storm Cal­lum mer­ci­fully tak­ing a break, it was the hosts who sim­ply blew the Black and Golds away.

The best club team in the northern hemi­sphere, ar­guably the world, had re­sources at their dis­posal that the vis­i­tors couldn’t match.

An early scrum penalty granted Le­in­ster a shot to probe into the 22 and test the vis­it­ing de­fence. Af­ter ini­tial or­gan­i­sa­tion around the fringes Sean Cronin sensed a gap, pin­ning his ears back and fin­ish­ing well un­der pres­sure from cov­er­ing de­fend­ers.

Lima Sopoaga re­duced the deficit to four points with a sweet­lystruck penalty, but he would prove to be the vil­lian as his in­ter­cep­tion at­tempt with the clock in the red earned him­self a yellow card and Sex­ton punched the ball into the Wasps 22.

With Wasps de­fend­ers vis­i­bly tired, Luke McGrath showed won­der­ful at­tack­ing in­stincts from the break­down to dive over for a try Sex­ton con­verted. Re­duced to 14 men for the first eight min­utes of the sec­ond half Wasps needed a solid start but James Lowe wasted lit­tle time in build­ing the hosts’ lead. Jonny Sex­ton once more suc­cess­ful with the boot.

The score­line threat­ened to get out of hand when livewire McGrath grabbed a sec­ond try as the RDS roared with ap­pre­ci­a­tion with line break af­ter line break.

Head­ing into the hour-mark, Wasps showed spirit in de­fence but of­fered lit­tle in at­tack. At­tempts to break down the fringes yielded turnovers af­ter just a few phases. That brief re­solve ended when Sex­ton’s au­da­cious pass freed James Ryan and Lowe was on hand to romp over. Sex­ton’s con­ver­sion took the score to 35-3.

Ev­ery pos­i­tive mo­ment Wasps en­joyed was fol­lowed by an er­ror that af­forded Le­in­ster the chance to cruise home in the fi­nal 15 min­utes and empty their bench.

Yet more air­time was af­forded The Fratel­lis’ Chelsea Dag­ger hit as Jor­dan Lamour crossed be­fore Rob­bie Hen­shaw bun­dled over in the left cor­ner with five min­utes re­main­ing. By the time Jack McGrath added an eighth Le­in­ster score, Wasps were left with the sober­ing re­al­ity they are some dis­tance be­hind the top two in the Gal­lagher Pre­mier­ship, and on this ev­i­dence miles away from be­ing a force on the Euro­pean stage.

Wasps boss Dai Young claimed that next week’s game against Bath is al­ready ‘must win’ fol­low­ing the de­feat.

“We have to win next week oth­er­wise we’re un­der real pres­sure,” he said. “It’s a huge game for us. We haven’t got any­thing to­day but I don’t think many teams will come here and get some­thing.

“Yes of course our de­fence is a work in progress and it isn’t where we want to be, but un­less we can ask some ques­tions with the ball we’re go­ing to end up de­fend­ing for big pe­ri­ods.

“The teams in this com­pe­ti­tion are too good for us to think we can give them 70 per cent pos­ses­sion and come away with a re­sult. I have to find a way to get some pos­i­tiv­ity back into the boys.

“It’s a dif­fi­cult task now but in the week we have to look at some of the pos­i­tives and build on them.”

De­jected Wasps walk off af­ter a de­mor­al­is­ing de­feat in Dublin. Right: The hosts’ Rob­bie Hen­shaw can­not be stopped

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