Heineken Cup 2007

Heineken Cup: Wasps vs USA Perpignan

The Captain gets ready as the mascots leave the fieldOn Saturday we went to see London Wasps vs. l'Union Sportive Arlequins Perpignan in the Heineken Cup. The situation going into the match was that Wasps were leading the group by 15 points to Castres Olympique's 13. If USA Perpignan won then we'd drop to second place, with a win the following week almost certain for l'Union Sportive Arlequins Perpignan against Benetton Treviso. It was a 'must win' game.

The game was hard fought, but Wasps was victorious with 22 points to 14, just denying USA Perpignan a losing bonus (it's 4 points for a win, a bonus for scoring four tries, or for losing by seven points or less). In a few places it looked like it might get a bit nasty, with fists being raised, but people restrained themselves.

The game was won thanks to the kicking skills of Alex King, who had a 100% kicking record, scoring four penalties (some from distance) and converting Dominic Waldouck's try. USA Perpignan failed to convert their try, and were held back from scoring a second try. It could have so easily have been 23-22 in USA Perpignan's favour.

The ball is taken away...As it is, then a win against Castres Olympique next week will see us through, as will a losing bonus (assuming that Castres Olympique don't also get a bonus). If both teams get the bonus, with a Castres Olympique win, then it comes down to the head to head performance, the number of tries scored and point difference. In the above situation, they will have scored four tries, which will clinch it.

For goodness sake, play for the win, not the bonus! That way is suicide.

It really was a good game, edge of the seat stuff...though a boring landslide would've been nice! There are now two away fixtures, Castres Olympique next week, and Worcester Warriors the week after. Then the six nations begin. There are four matches left at Adams Park, with the next being against Sale Sharks in February.

London Wasps vs. Benetton Treviso (Heineken Cup)

I went to see a third round Heineken Cup game today. I couldn't have picked a better game, really. Wasps had been third in the group, but Perpignan obligingly lost to Castres Olympique earlier this week - that meant if Wasps could beat Benetton Treviso, and score four tries, we would be on top of the group.

We did this, and some!

Dallaglio,  after Wasps beat Benetton Treviso 55-0 in the Heineken Cup It was a miserable day of it, it was chucking it down with rain, but there seemed to be no stopping the Wasps - it was try, after try, after try.

Paul Sackey had a few good runs, Rees, Lewsey and Voyce each scored twice. There were a few times when I thought that they weren't using the full width (Sackey had a clear run more than once, but the ball never found him!) There were a few missed chances, and one in particular over on the Frank Adams side of the field, when three unopposed Wasps players had only to fall onto the ball, but instead it hit Voyce's leg and went dead. That's all seems rather churlish though with a 55-0 scoreline.

There was a nice moment that happened virtually in front of me, (to the lleft a bit), where Tom Voyce was hemmed in by Benetton players with nowhere to go - so he hurled the ball at a Benetton player's gut, and it bounced into touch. Nice. Risky, but nice.

We've only sat in the Frank Adams stand before, this time I was in the BCUC (very close to the players' tunnel) - the position along the pitch was equivalent, and I was closer to the pitch (which I liked) - but lower (which was less good, especially when the play was on the far side. On the whole, I think they seats were good, though the Frank Adams stand is slightly better sheltered.

The table now stands as follows:

  Team P W D L F A BP PTS
1 Wasps 3 2 0 1 86 32 2 10
2 Castres 3 2 0 1 90 69 2 10
3 Perpignan 3 2 0 1 72 58 1 9
4 Treviso 3 0 0 3 32 121 0 0