Haskell hurts Wasps

For­ward’s late dis­missal causes col­lapse which has put pro­gres­sion on line

Sport360 - - Champions Cup - By Staff Re­porter @Sport360 ed­i­to­[email protected]

James Haskell was sent off for a dan­ger­ous tackle as Wasps col­lapsed to a dra­matic 33-28 de­feat by Har­lequins that all but ends their Euro­pean Champions Cup quest.

Haskell flat­tened Jamie Roberts with a shoul­der-high chal­lenge in the 76th minute that was also late, re­ceiv­ing a straight red card from ref­eree Ro­man Poite and end­ing the groggy Wales cen­tre’s af­ter­noon.

The Eng­land flanker faces a sus­pen­sion that could af­fect his avail­abil­ity for the Six Na­tions, but his more im­me­di­ate con­cern will be Wasps’ im­plo­sion at Twick­en­ham Stoop. Lead­ing 21-0 af­ter 30 min­utes, they leaked a suc­ces­sion of tries, grabbed the bonus point, be­fore fall­ing apart once again as touch downs from Danny Care, Elia Elia and James Chisholm com­pleted a re­mark­able fight­back by Quins.

Har­lequins’ in­ter­est in Europe was ex­tin­guished long ago, they had lost all four pre­vi­ous matches in Pool 1, but a team weak­ened by in­jury and sus­pen­sion fought to the end and were re­warded.

Mean­while, Ul­ster di­rec­tor of rugby Les Kiss praised his side’s bat­tling qual­i­ties af­ter yes­ter­day’s hard-fought 20-13 tri­umph over La Rochelle.

The re­sult at a wet and windy Kingspan Sta­dium put the Ir­ish prov­ince – whose tries were scored by Rory Best, Ja­cob Stock­dale and Nick Ti­money – top of Pool 1 and in with a good chance of reach­ing the quar­ter-fi­nals for the first time since 2014.

“The boys turned up in a real vi­cious mood, sim­i­lar to Har­lequins (17-5 win on De­cem­ber 10) and we did that (a sim­i­lar per­for­mance) again,” he said.

A bonus-point win for Ul­ster in the fi­nal round of group games at Wasps next week will guar­an­tee them a top-place fin­ish, though La Rochelle’s los­ing bonus point from Belfast could also prove cru­cial for their am­bi­tions.

Olly Wood­burn scored two tries as Ex­eter kept their hopes alive with a crush­ing 41-10 bonus-point win over Mont­pel­lier at Sandy Park.

The win moved Ex­eter one point ahead of Mont­pel­lier in Pool 3 but they are still five points be­hind lead­ers Le­in­ster, who play their game in hand at home to win­less Glas­gow to­day.

Dave Ew­ers, Sam Sim­monds, Don Ar­mand and Nic White were Ex­eter’s other try-scor­ers with Gareth Steen­son adding three con­ver­sions and Joe Sim­monds one – he also kicked a last-minute penalty.

Elim­i­nated Northamp­ton se­cured back-to-back wins in all com­pe­ti­tions for the first time since Septem­ber as they in­flicted a first Champions Cup de­feat of the sea­son on Cler­mont Au­vergne, run­ning in five tries to pre­vail 34-21.

+14 points dif­fer­ence for Wasps af­ter last night’s game

See­ing red: James Haskell (c) of Wasps is sent off for his late chal­lenge on Jamie Roberts of Har­lequins.

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