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Rugby | Champions Cup

Dan Robson © Gallo Images

Wasps too good for La Rochelle

Wasps kept their Champions Cup play-off hopes alive when they claimed a deserved 21-3 win over La Rochelle at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday.

The Premiership outfit dominated from the outset and outscored their visitors by three tries to none with Elliot Daly Wasps' hero after contributing 14 of his side's points courtesy of a brace of tries and two conversions.

The home side had the bulk of the possession and also dominated the territorial stakes, but it took Wasps some time to get going as wet weather made handling and underfoot conditions difficult.

The result was La Rochelle's first defeat from four matches in this season's competition, but they are still in first position in pool one, three points ahead of second-placed Ulster while Wasps occupy third spot, five points adrift of the table-toppers.

Despite the poor conditions, both sides stayed true to their attacking roots and ran the ball at every opportunity. Wasps were dealt a blow after seven minutes when Jimmy Gopperth was forced off the field through injury but his departure was not too disruptive as Kyle Eastmond proved to be an adequate replacement.

The first half came alive in the 11th minute when Wasps set up several phases with their forwards inside La Rochelle's 22 until Marty Moore was stopped just short of the try-line after a strong carry.

The ball was recycled quickly and Dan Robson delivered an inch-perfect long pass to Daly, who powered through two tackles before dotting down in the left-hand corner.

The rest of the half saw Wasps launching several attacks, but a combination of handling errors and scrambling defence from La Rochelle prevented the home side from extending their lead, which meant they led 7-0 at halftime.

The second half continued in a similar vein, with Wasps the dominant side, and seven minutes after the restart Daly ran onto a well-timed pass from Willie le Roux before diving over in the left-hand corner again.

He did well to slot a difficult conversion, which gave his side a 14-0 lead and Wasps continued to dominate as the half progressed.

They could not convert that dominance into points, however, and on the hour-mark Brock James opened La Rochelle's account when he landed a penalty from close range.

That would be the last time the visitors would score though as Wasps finished stronger and launched several attacks inside their opponents' half. One such foray from their forwards saw Tom Cruse crossing for a try off the back of a lineout drive inside La Rochelle's 22 in the 73rd minute.

Wasps continued to attack in a bid to secure a try-scoring bonus-point, but despite spending most of the closing stages camped inside the visitors' half, they could not achieve that goal.


Wasps - Tries: Daly 2, Cruse. Conversions: Daly 2, Cipriani

La Rochelle - Penalty: James


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