There were plenty of positives for Wasps to take from their narrow 26-23 defeat to Biarritz in their Challenge Cup quarter-final at Adams Park. Despite losing the game, Dai Young’s men proved a lot of doubters wrong with a battling display, only just falling short of a sensational victory.
The Londoners, who handed a number of youngsters the chance to impress, had to fight back from 23-9 down to get themselves level as the match entered its closing stages.
French international, Dimitri Yachvilli, dashed Wasps’ dreams, however, kicking a penalty with five minutes remaining to edge the French giants into a decisive lead and the victory.
Wasps’ near-miss will give fans, especially those enjoying a bet on Aviva Premiership rugby, hope that the London club can salvage something from the remaining games of the season.
The visitors took control of the tie in the first half. Converted Ian Balshaw and Eugene Van Standen’s tries added to Yachvilli’s faultless kicking with his four first-half penalties.
Wasps’ winger, Christian Wade, marked his return to action with a second half try as the hosts got themselves back into the match, before centre, Ryan Davies, added a second touchdown for his side.
Nick Robinson was doing his bit from kicking tee, converting both tries as well as three penalties to drag Wasps back level. Yachvilli broke the home fans’ hearts with five minutes left, though, kicking the crucial penalty to take the Frenchmen through.
While admitting Biarritz had been the better side, Wasps director of rugby, Dai Young, made it clear that he was delighted with how his young team had performed.
“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.”
“We were lucky to still be in the game at some stages but I was really proud of the youngsters who gave everything. They showed a lot of character.”
French and English fans could have banked on a payout from the win, if they had been betting on the match.